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Google could be charged with breaching EU laws

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Google was pushed down to fifth position in 2012 from fourth place last year, with a brand value of €50.6bn. Photo: Getty Images

Google was pushed down to fifth position in 2012 from fourth place last year, with a brand value of €50.6bn. Photo: Getty Images

Google was pushed down to fifth position in 2012 from fourth place last year, with a brand value of €50.6bn. Photo: Getty Images

EU regulators could charge Google with breaching EU laws if it does not offer satisfactory concessions to ease competition concerns, the EU's antitrust chief said today.

Google is currently in talks with the European Commission to resolve concerns about its business practices, following complaints from rivals, among them Microsoft.

"If effective solutions were found quickly and tested successfully, competition could be restored at an early stage by means of a commitment decision," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in the text of a speech to be delivered at Fordham University in New York.

"However, we are not there yet, and it must be clear that - in the absence of satisfactory proposals in the short term - I will be obliged to continue with our formal proceedings," he said.

Almunia also said he would decide "very soon" on Universal Music Group's $1.9bn bid for EMI's recorded music business.

Sources have told Reuters that an EU decision could come on Friday, ahead of a September 27 deadline.