EU gives Google a month to deal with search complaints

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Joaquin Almunia gives Google a month to come up for a solution to stave off EU investigation

The EU has given Google a month to form detailed proposals to resolve an investigation into its control of the search market.

The EU's antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, delivered the ultimatum in a meeting with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt in Brussels.

Alumnia said Google has until January to submit a written plan on how it will resolve complaints that it's abusing its search market dominance by blocking rivals, including Microsoft.

"Since our preliminary talks with Google started in July, we have substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address each of the four competition concerns expressed by the Commission," Almunia said in a statement.

On the basis of the progress made, I now expect Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January 2013

"On the basis of the progress made, I now expect Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January 2013."

Almunia said he would seek feedback from rivals and users once he's received Google's proposal. Google said it continues to work cooperatively with the Commission.

The EU watchdog's two-year investigation has centered on complaints that Google unfairly favoured its services over its rivals in search results, and that it may have copied material from travel and restaurant websites without permission.

US case delayed

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating Google over similar issues. The FTC ruling was expected to come within days, but now won't appear for several weeks. Sources told Reuters the FTC could drop its investigation into Google without requiring any major change to how the company operates.

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