European Commission started its anti-trust investigations against Google few years back and Google tried to convince EU couple of times with its new proposals and failed miserably. Earlier this year, EC announced that it has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising. In its proposal, Google then accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services. This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services.
Google’s proposed changes were not well received by the opposing parties which includes Microsoft and lots of other companies. NYT recently reported that Microsoft and the German publishing industry on Thursday stepped up pressure on the European Union’s antitrust chief to make radical adjustments to a proposed antitrust settlement with Google. Microsoft on its part, conducted a study on Google’s proposed changes and concluded that users would click Google’s services 99 times more likely than other’s links in the current proposal.
In a study conducted over the course of nearly three weeks in April, Microsoft engineers modified the publicly available search page of its own search site, Bing, to operate like a Google search page under the terms of the proposed European settlement.
In monitoring the way that Bing users conducted searches for hotels and restaurants, Microsoft said, it found that people would mostly ignore the parts of the modified page supposedly dedicated to competitors. Instead, Microsoft found that users were 99 times more likely to click on the area of the page that Google would dedicate to its own services.
Microsoft submitted the results of the experiment involving three million search queries to Mr. Almunia in July.
Read more at NYTimes.