Either change or face stiff fine. That’s pretty much what EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia told a European parliament committee today about Google’s plan to treat rival search engines fairly in their search results. Almunia told the committee that the next step would include formal charges against the tech giant.

The latest barb from the EU comes as Google is accused of abusing its strong search engine position in Europe. Some estimates put the search engine’s reach at 90% of search traffic in the region.

These accusations stretch back to 2010 when search engine rivals complained about the way Google displayed results in its search engine.

Google offered a deal back in February. In it, they would reserve space near the top of its European search pages for competitors. These competitors could then bid for the space.

That didn’t go over too well with Google’s competition. They argued the solution was also unfair since Google would profit from it.

Almunia informed Google that it needs to improve their deal or face stiff penalties from the EU.

How will this end? Probably with a mixture of fines and Google lifting search results of its competitors in its search engine. When? It could be a while. Another big antitrust case was launched against Microsoft years ago. That one ended up lasting 16 years. These issues typically don’t get resolved overnight. Still, I doubt the Google case stretches to 16 years.

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