Google Revises Settlement Offer in EU Antitrust Probe, Hopes to Avoid $5 Billion Fine

Google may have more money than it knows what to do with, but that doesn't mean it's willing to pay a potential $5 billion fine without putting up a fight. That's the upper amount the Mountain View company faces as European Union regulators continue their antitrust probe into how Google operates its search services.

In an attempt to settle the nearly three-year-old case, Google issued a new set of concessions, which are currently being looked at, the European Commission confirmed on Monday.

"We received new proposals from Google in the previous week," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told Bloomberg Television. "If we are satisfied with the new proposals, we can advance toward an agreed solution in the coming months."

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EU regulators began investigating Google amid concerns that it had been unfairly promoting its own services and blocking competitors from search results, as well as copying travel and restaurant reviews from its rivals' sites. To ease the European Commission's concerns, Google previously agreed to label its branded search services and display links to rival search services, including Microsoft. Almunia rejected Google's offer as Microsoft and other Google rivals push for tougher measures.

"Given the failure of Google to make a serious offer last time around, we believe it is necessary that customers and competitors of Google be consulted in a full, second market test," said Thomas Vinje, a Brussels-based lawyer for FairSearch Europe.