* Google offers to display rival links prominently
* Concession would be valid in Europe for five years
By Foo Yun Chee
ST GALLEN, Switzerland, May 15 EU regulators
plan to issue a final decision on their competition probe into
Google after the summer break, the EU's antitrust chief
said, after rivals such as Microsoft complained about how Google
displays Internet search results.
The world's top Internet search engine reached a deal with
EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia in February by agreeing to
display rivals' links more prominently, hoping to end a
three-year-old case that could have led to a fine of up to $5
billion (3.6 billion euros).
More than a dozen companies, including Microsoft,
British price comparison site Foundem and German online mapping
company Hotmaps, have accused Google of squeezing them out of
the market by demoting them in Internet search results.
Rivals say Google's concessions do not go far enough and
will only entrench its dominance of Internet searches. And
sources close to the matter have told Reuters that a third of
members on the European Commission also opposed the deal,
underlining the political sensitivity of the matter.
European Competition Commissioner Almunia said on Thursday
he was listening to the various views but would not go back on
"I want this to be decided before the end of this
Commission. I want to conclude ... weeks after the summer
break," he told a St Gallen competition conference. The
Commission effectively closes for August.
The Google deal would be valid for five years in Europe,
where the company has a market share of more than 70 percent.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter)