Report: Google squeezed by EU demands to overhaul mobile services

European Union competition officials are demanding that Google makes sweeping changes to its mobile services as part of an antitrust investigation, according to a Financial Times report, which cited unnamed sources.

Joaquin Alumina, the EU Competition Commissioner, favours reaching an agreed settlement with Google over its anti-competitive behaviour, but has now upped the stakes by extending the scope at this final stage of the negotiations to include mobile services, according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper cited people briefed on the case in Brussels as saying the talks with Google are balanced on a "knife-edge" and Alumina is expected to decide this week whether they are worth continuing.

Alumina is said to have concerns that Google favours its own products in search results, reports the Financial Times. The company is also accused of "copying'"content from rivals without permission, closing out competition with its advertising agreements with other websites and restricting advertisers from moving online ad campaigns to rival search engines.

If the discussions collapse, the EU could move within weeks to serve Google with its "statement of objections," triggering a process that would likely see a prolonged legal battle resulting in multibillion-dollar fines.

Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, has discussed the issue with Alumina over the past weeks, which has resulted in the company offering a revised package of proposals.

However, the details of this new offer are not known, according to the Financial Times, but are said to address four main EU concerns, which had initially appeared to only cover PC-based Google services.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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