AMSTERDAM -- The European Commission's top competition regulator, Joaquin Almunia, says he will decide within several weeks whether the concessions offered by Google (GOOG) in how it displays search results are sufficient to ensure it is not stifling competition and innovation.
Almunia has said that, given the rapid pace of technological change, he prefers negotiated settlements to the lengthy battles and multibillion-dollar fines that characterized the commission's clashes with Microsoft in the 2000s.
His office has been investigating Google for three years. Mountain View-based Google proposed changes, then revised them this summer after competitors said they didn't go far enough. Now the time has come to choose between making Google's proposals binding, or formally objecting to its practices, Almunia said in Florence on Friday.