Google may be close to settling its antitrust disputes in the European Union, good news for the search engine giant, which has been under the cloud of a potential $5 billion fine and business-limiting rules in the EU.
Google has been under fire from claims that it has abused its market position in advertising and search services by giving precedence to its own services within search results.
E.U. competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia announced today that he would be accepting Google's latest settlement offer, which would involve Google making changes to the way it displays search results and probably some sort of monetary exchange.
This is not a done deal yet—Almunia indicated that Google's competitors should have the opportunity to review the terms of the settlement. This will mean the final settlement won't be done for months, if at all—Google's competitors are not exactly known for being forgiving.
This will be a hit on Google in the E.U. to be sure, but it's probably a lot better than the alternative.