EU: Yelp joins the anti-Google battle

Online review service Yelp has reportedly filed an antitrust complaint against Google in the EU, compounding troubles for the search giant as authorities ready to end a years-long case against the firm.

European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has repeatedly expressed that he is looking to settle an antitrust case against Google that has so far lasted for about four years, first beginning when Google rivals complained of its anticompetitive practices when displaying search results. But those rivals continue to fight against a proposed settlement; Microsoft and the European Consumer Organization have already challenged the settlement deal.

Now, reports say, Yelp has joined in that challenge. Those displeased with the settlement offer say that the concessions, which include a paid box spot at the top of Google search results to display rivals’ products, is in a dead spot on the page, and could actually worsen Google’s anticompetitive hold against competitors.

According to an unnamed source, Yelp suggests that instead of Google’s proposal to include a box with rival search results, the company should entirely overhaul its algorithms to not favor Google-owned products when displaying results.

The European Commission’s suggested closure of the case has earned significant backlash, even within the Commission itself, reports say.

Almunia is reported to have made efforts to convince the Commissioners to approve of the settlement, and sent a letter last month arguing that this particular case should be close because Google is sure to face no shortage of additional competition probes in the future.

Almunia is set to exit his post as head of competition policy in the EU later this year.

Full content: Gigaom

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