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EU’s patience is running out, as massive antitrust fines loom over Google

Summary: The European antitrust chief is tapping is foot. He’s still not at all happy with Google.

Google’s latest settlement package from October still isn’t enough to appease regulators, who are eyeing a $5 billion fine or a partial block of its business in the 28 member state bloc as a backup last resort.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Friday, according to Reuters, that Google’s latest concessions “are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition.”

He described the package as “not acceptable,” speaking during a Spanish radio interview.

The world’s largest search engine, with about 90 percent search share in Europe alone, recently promised to show competing links and results in its search pages in efforts to appease regulators and rivals — including Microsoft and Expedia — which both said after the package details leaked that the offer was not enough.

Almunia said, according to Bloomberg’s transcript of the radio interview, that the current offer fails to quash concerns of how rivals’ results “in vertical search” are “being treated.”

Google faces a partial ban in Europe should antitrust talks crash, which is looking increasingly likely after the near half-dozen bouts of to’ing and fro’ing between the search giant and the European executive body.

Failing that, the European Commission always has a 10 percent financial penalty of a company’s global revenue up its sleeve, which for Google could amount to as much as $5 billion.

Though in the recent case of breaking Spanish data protection and privacy law, it took Google about 3 minutes to recoup the loss from the $1.23 million fine it was dished out, the search company might take a $5 billion financial hit a little more seriously. From ZDnet

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