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Google reaches deal to settle European antitrust case

Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has made a settlement with Google a top priority.
Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has made a settlement with Google a top priority.FRANCOIS LENOIR/REUTERS

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LONDON — Google reached a deal with European antitrust authorities on Wednesday, ending a lengthy competition investigation into the US tech company’s practices that could have led to billions of dollars in penalties.

Under the agreement, Google would pay no fine and there would be no finding of wrongdoing. Such a finding could have limited its future activities on the Continent.

The discussions have centered on whether Google abused its dominance in Internet search and advertising to favor its own products and services in search results. The agreement would require Google to give rivals more prominence in its promoted results. Some competitors said the settlement doesn’t go far enough, adding that they may take their case to the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission said it would seek comment from Google’s rivals before making the deal legally binding later this year, though Joaquín Almunia, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said any feedback would be unlikely to drastically change the final agreement.

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