Google Offers New Concessions to Avoid Fine in EU Antitrust Case

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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS -- Google has offered further concessions aimed at ending a three-year investigation into complaints it was blocking competitors and to avert a possible $5 billion fine, the European Commission said Monday.

The new proposal comes two months after the commission, which is the European Union's antitrust regulator, asked the world's most popular search engine for more measures to sooth concerns that it was blocking competitors, including Microsoft, in web search results.

"The Commission received a proposal from Google and is assessing it," EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said. He didn't provide details nor say if rivals would be given a chance to assess the concessions.

"Our proposal to the European Commission addresses their four areas of concern. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case," Google spokesman Al Verney said.

Lobbying group FairSearch, whose members include Microsoft (MSFT) and other complainants such as online travel agency Expedia (EXPE), British price comparison site Foundem and France's Twenga, urged the Commission to seek feedback from rivals.

"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," FairSearch lawyer Thomas Vinje said in a statement.
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Google (GOOG), which has a market share of over 80 percent in Europe's Internet search market according to research firm comScore (SCOR), told the Commission in April it would mark out its services from rival products in Internet search results.

It also proposed to provide links to at least three competing search engines and make it easier for advertisers to transfer their search advertising campaigns to rival platforms. But rivals said Google's offer was inadequate and would only reinforce its dominance.

The Commission has said Google may have favored its own search services over those of rivals and copied travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites without permission. The EU executive is also concerned the company may have put restrictions on advertisers and advertising to prevent them from moving their online campaigns to competing search engines.

9 PHOTOS
Tech's Highest-Paid CEOs
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Google Offers New Concessions to Avoid Fine in EU Antitrust Case
Company: Oracle
Cash compensation: $5.5 million
Stock and options: $90.7 million
Total compensation 1-year change: 24%

Despite his $1 salary, Ellison is not only the highest paid tech CEO this year, but the highest paid of all CEOs.
Most of Ellison's pay comes from his stock grants. In June of 2011 he was given an option to purchase 7 million shares of Oracle (ORCL) common stock.
Company: Yahoo
Cash compensation: $1.6 million
Stock and options: $35 million
Total compensation 1-year change: N/A

Mayer left Google (GOOG) to join Yahoo (YHOO) as its CEO, president and a board member in July of 2012. Her base salary was set at $1 million with an annual bonus target set at $2 million a year.
Though she only took home $6 million last year, Mayer reached No. 2 on this list because she was also offered a one-time retention award when she was hired, consisting of stock grants that could total $30 million when they vest over the next five years.
Company: eBay
Cash compensation: $4 million
Stock and options: $25.7 million
Total compensation 1-year change: 81%

The 81% jump in in Donahoe's salary this year is largely due to a one-time award of about $14.9 million paid in stock. According to a regulatory filing, Donahoe got the grant because he led eBay (EBAY) "successfully through a difficult turnaround ... and positioned it well for additional growth."
Company: Salesforce.com
Cash compensation: $3.2 million
Stock and options: $18.9 million
Total compensation 1-year change: 25%

Benioff's base salary has been set at $1 million for the past two years. He received a $1.3 million cash bonus last year and almost $19 million in Salesforce.com (CRM) stock options and awards. He also received $650,000 to cover costs related to his personal security, which is "of paramount importance to the company," according to a regulatory filing.
Company: AT&T
Cash compensation: $8.4 million
Stock and options: $12.6 million
Total compensation 1-year change: 12%

Stephenson, who has served as CEO and president of AT&T (T) since 2007, was paid a $6 million bonus on top of his $1.6 million base salary in 2012. About $13 million of his pay came in the form of stock and awards.
Company: Qualcomm
Cash compensation: $5.7 million
Stock and options: $15 million
Total compensation 1-year change: -5%


Jacobs was given a $3.4 million cash bonus on top of his $1.2 million salary. Other compensation for the CEO included more than $280,000 for personal use of Qualcomm's (QCOM) corporate aircraft and more than $4,000 for things such as home office costs, personal travel and entertainment.

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