/// European Antitrust Case Against Google Moves Towards Settlement As Well
Google seems to have stared down antitrust concerns both at home and abroad, with the help of its Chairman Eric Schmidt. The company has been given a new deadline of January 2013, said Joaquin Almunia, the competition commissioner of the European Commission. At that point Google is supposed to produce a “detailed commitment text.” Almunia said his organization has “substantially reduced our differences” with Google since he first opened the door to preliminary settlement talks earlier this year. That’s a significant change from expectations that Almunia might litigate against Google, given he has relatively more power to do so under European laws than the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is in the process of backing down from the brink of a formal complaint as well. Almunia’s new statement comes on the heels of Schmidt visiting him in person in Brussels today. The FTC is also expected to announce a settlement agreement with Google over search, search advertising and standards-essential patents early this week. That hasn’t happened yet, but will likely be tomorrow. Both the FTC and the EC have pulled back on broader claims against Google. The FTC agreement this week is expected to cover issues such as scraping content to display in search results, something Google had already pulled back on. According to sources as well as many reports, the FTC is unexpected to delve more deeply into the more knotty issue of search bias, where competitors charge that Google preferences its own services over those of competitors. Almunia, however, made sure to point to the search result display issue today, listing it first among his concerns, as he has before . Even so, this latest date of January is yet one more in a long string of deadlines . Google, as ever, said of Almunia’s statement today, “We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission.” Here’s Almunia’s full statement. After meeting Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, today in Brussels, I have decided to continue with the process towards reaching an agreement based on Article 9 of the EU Antitrust regulation.