Google In Hot Water With European Commission

Image: Margrethe Vestager

The European Union commissioner of competition, Margrethe Vestagar, has formally sent a firm statement of objections to Google, because the EC believes Google has violated and abused the antitrust rules that has afforded it dominance in the market. Which has been detrimental to both online competitors and consumers alike.

A legal case against Google has been in the works for nearly 5 years, and things just escalated to cause concern for Google higher-ups. It has been realized that Google has been diverting serious amounts of traffic away from competitors, and basically drawing in more traffic to their very own services and products.

Google has been showing their own comparison shopping results from competitors even though it is a less relevant search result, which is hurting the innovation and competitive playing field, basically dominating the market in monopolistic approach.

“Dominance as such is not a problem,” Vestager said. “However, dominant companies have a responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition either in markets where they’re dominant or in neighboring markets.” She continues “My goal is to ensure that consumers and competitors can benefit from a competitive environment, It’s for the sake of consumers and innovation.” Vestager said that “Consumers must get the best possible results from their query to enable choice, “businesses must be able to present their innovative products to their customers.”

The European Commission action against Google could pose some very serious fines to the powerhouse search engine, similar to what they posed against Microsoft and Intel for breaking antitrust rules and regulations. The fines could carry a 10 percent global revenue, and Google is at $66 billion annually, so that could mean up to a $6.6 billion fine would be imposed, some serious allegations indeed.

It is all about playing fair, and making sure that Google is sending customers to the right product, not some internal way of recycling traffic and making more money.

“Our preliminary view in the statement of objections is that in its general Internet search results, Google artificially favors its own comparison-shopping service, and that this constitutes an abuse,” Vestager said. “When a consumer enters a shopping-related query in Google’s search engine, Google’s comparison-shopping product is systematically displayed prominently at the top of search results. This display is irrespective of whether it is the most relevant response to the query.”

Google’s senior vice president of search engine Amit Singhal had this to say: “We respectfully but strongly disagree with the need to issue a Statement of Objections.”

It will remain to be seen if the EC will move ahead and keep pushing this, or how Google responds, possibly making changes to ensure they do not get dinged with any sort of antitrust violations.

Check back for more updates!

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