Italian case against Google closed

MILAN — Google Italy was released Monday from an antitrust investigation in Italy after the company made a pair of commitments to address competitive concerns.

Italy’s antitrust watchdog announced it found no infractions as it closed the case brought in 2009 by Italian publishers against Google Italy.

The antitrust agency made the move after the Internet giant committed to allowing online publishers to remove material from Google News without affecting search results. The Internet giant also pledged transparency of Adsense revenues shared with online advertisers.

Italian publishers had alleged that Google Italy was discriminating against newspapers that don’t want their content linked on Google’s news site by dropping them from its search engine. They claimed that having their newspapers’ content on Google News Italia harmed their efforts to attract users and advertising on their own sites.

Google officials said the company was satisfied with the decision, which they said could bode well for pending cases in Europe.

The company said both commitments, while legally binding only in Italy, are part of initiatives it is launching worldwide.

It said the mechanism for allowing Italian publishers to remove material from Google news has been in place since December 2009.

Google says it hopes the case could be a precedent for dealing with complaints against it, citing a high level of cooperation with Italian authorities.

The European Commission is investigating whether Google discriminated against competitors in the rankings of its search results. Germany, meanwhile, has transferred parts of its investigation that overlaps with the probe.

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