France on Tuesday won EU approval to give euro99 million (US$152 million) to several companies hoping to build a European rival to U.S. search giant Google Inc.
The European Commission said it could allow the government to fund French technology group Thomson SA and 22 other companies working on the QUAERO multimedia search project because the potential benefits to European research would outweigh any gain Thomson would win over rivals.
Thomson hopes the research will help it offer better Internet protocol distribution technology to deliver television programs or films online.
According to the EU, the grant would not help Thomson gain any market power because rivals should also keep up their investment in research and development. EU rules forbid governments granting money to companies if that would give them an unfair advantage over competitors. (IHT)