Google reaches agreement with EU, settles antitrust case

Avoids hefty fine in the process

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Google has agreed to back down to the EU's wishes on how it displays links on its website.

In a deal that ends a long-running antitrust case, the search engine giant has dodged a fine of up to $5 billion, roughly 10 per cent of its revenue in 2012. It has agreed to modify the way it presents search results in Europe following allegations that it was abusing its position in the market to favour its own services.

The company has agreed to leave spaces in its European search results for competitors to place adverts, such as holidays, hotels or car sales, alongside Google-sponsored services that do the same. By signing off on this agreement, Google has avoided an in-depth investigation by the EU.

More settlements to come?

However, the Mountain View, California-based firm may not have been compliant on all levels.

Currently two other investigations are under way in the EU looking at Google's usage of patents to pursue litigation and whether it is abusing its market share for Android mobile phones. Almunia will be discussing the Android investigation's next steps in the coming weeks

The settlement is the first time that Google has accepted legally binding changes to its search business.