Microsoft's baby, ICOMP, cheers Google EC agreement

Microsoft backed lobbyist group the Initiative for a Competitive Marketplace (ICOMP) has celebrated Google’s agreement to an EC framework to resolve its antitrust case.

The group has declared that the decision to reach an agreement with the European Commission is effectively a tacit admission of its guilt over abusing its dominance in the search market.  

Google, which currently accounts for a massive 95 percent of the search market in Europe, has been under investigation from the EC over its search and related services, with accusations that it has unfairly ranked competitive sites.

The case, ongoing since 2010, now appears to be edging towards a resolution, with Google agreeing to concessions as part of a settlement agreement.

Reaching a settlement rather than lashing out with fines is the EC’s preferred method in such cases, and it seems that Google is willing to come to a resolution by agreeing a framework for a settlement.

Not surprisingly the decision has been warmly welcomed by ICOMP, a group which, at least originally, enjoyed financial support by Microsoft – the company which provides main search rival to Google’s own services, Bing.

David Wood, Counsel at ICOMP, said that the agreement by Google is a “hugely significant acknowledgement of their market power and illegal anti-competitive behaviour,” and said he was “confident” the EC would clamp down on Google as part of the settlement.

“We are confident that the Commission will accept nothing short of the necessary package of remedies,” he said in a statement, adding that the EC should ensure Google is prevented from circumventing any measures it agrees to.

“Given Google’s history of deliberately impeding and obstructing official investigations, many companies will continue to monitor the process very closely,” Wood said.