Google has finally reached an agreement with the European Commission in the antitrust case that’s been going on for years.
The search engine has agreed to start displaying at least three rival services more prominently when a search result displays a link to one of its own services.
“The new proposal obtained from Google after long and difficult talks can now address the Commission’s concerns. Without preventing Google from improving its own services, it provides users with real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way,” said Joaquin Almunia, the European Commission Vice President.
Aside from displaying rival services better, Google has also agreed to stop asking publishers to sign exclusivity agreements for displaying ads in its search results.
Furthermore, the search engine giant will remove restrictions imposed to advertisers from displaying their campaigns on rivals’ search engines and services.
An independent body will keep an eye on the situation for the duration of the deal. However, before it comes into effect, rival companies will give feedback for one last time. Then, the European Commission will decide whether the commitments will be legally binding.
The issues between Google and the European authorities started in November 2010, when the Internet giant was criticized for displaying links to its own services in a much more visible way than it did for other rival products.
Over the past several years, the company has gone back and forth with the European Commission on a set of terms, making various proposals and then changing them again.
As rival companies kept fussing over Google’s way of doing business, the European Commission had no choice but to keep sending back the proposals. In December, Almunia said that the latest offer was unacceptable and needed to be modified.
Well, it looks like the deal is done now and Google will be forced to comply with the terms for five years.