The proposal would see Google reconfigure its results page in Europe to give rivals to its own services equal prominence. It would also require Google to stop scraping content from search rivals, and stop locking ad clients into its platform with anticompetitive terms and conditions.
It is very important to note that Google has not settled the case yet, as many otherwise reputable outlets suggested last week. Almunia is happy, but a good few other commissioners — who collectively comprise the EU executive — are not. A spokewoman for Almunia’s office confirmed today that it could be months before the case is settled, if indeed that’s what happens.
All of which makes the tone of Google’s Friday blog post somewhat disingenuous – it is premature at the least to claim that Google has “reached an agreement with the European Commission that addresses its competition concerns.”
It does however explain why the company has published the text of its most recent proposal. Almunia has said that no further market testing will be needed to check the changes achieve what they aim to achieve, but Microsoft and the other complainants in the case still want that third round of market testing to take place.
Google must hope that transparency will help it stave off that extra step. As it said on Friday, it is publishing the text “to ensure that everyone understands the wide-ranging nature of this settlement.”