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Open Internet Project seeks to revive anti-trust case against Google

Group argues that EU concessions will only strengthen Google’s search dominance.

By CBR Staff Writer

Hundreds of digital European companies have urged the European Commission not to close the anti-competitive settlement it reached with Google.

The group representing the firms, called Open Internet Project, includes Germany’s Axel Springer and France’s Lagardère, and claims that the US search giant commands an "insurmountable" 90% market which is using its dominance to squeeze out completion.

The group included online publishers, tour operators, and consumer associations, and has appealed to the commission not to accept the settlement in its present form, saying that it would hurt competition in the continent.

Google reached a settlement in February over featuring rivals’ links more prominently in order to end the three-year case and avoid a five billion Euro fine.

The Open Internet Project also argued that the concessions agreed by the EU will only strengthen Google’s dominance in the online search market, though much of the settlement is behind closed doors and so some measures may remain unknown.

The group said in a statement cited by AFP: "European Consumers and Digital Entrepreneurs demand (a) ban of Google’s manipulative favouring of own services and content."

It added: "The European Commission … is planning to give in to the giant by concluding a settlement largely behind closed doors that would in principle legalise Google’s self-preference."

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The development follows European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that European citizens have "a right to be forgotten" in a landmark case against Google.

The decision by the EU’s supreme court means that companies can be forced to remove personal information from websites if such data is deemed "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

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