EU Still Investigating Google Search Dominance; Unsure About Competitive Abuse
September 16, 2011 10:40 AM
The EU Competition Commissioner noted that Google's business, where advertising fees finance a service that is free-of-charge for users, makes this investigation difficult
Google is undeniably a force to be reckoned with in the tech world. It's the world's most popular search engine with more than 90 percent of the global market (according to internet statistics firm StatCounter), developer of the popular mobile operating system
and creator of social network
. But sometimes, too much of the spotlight can land you in some trouble.
In April 2011, it was announced the the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Justice Department would launch an
of Google's Internet dominance if the search giant decided to purchase ITA Software Inc. Google ended up buying the search software firm this year and even used it to launch a
"Flights" search feature
just this week.
Google has attracted some attention from the European Union (EU) as well, which is still undecided as to whether the company dominates Internet search and wronged rivals of competition rules, reports
"As part of our current investigation, we are trying to determine whether the company holds a dominant position in Internet search," said Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner. "Google is the browser of choice for many of us, but dominance is not the same as abuse of dominance. Abuse is a conduct that protects or extends dominance by illegitimate means, and we still have to conclude whether this is the case for Google."
Almunia noted that Google's business, where
finance a service that is free-of-charge for users, makes this investigation difficult.
"This aspect of Google's business is forcing us to take special care as we conduct our assessment of the relevant product and geographic markets," said Almunia. "Another important issue in this case, for instance, is determining whether Google holds a position of gatekeepr and is able to influence the behavior of Internet users."
Google is currently up against nine antitrust complaints filed with the EU, and the Commission can fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover if guilty of violating EU policies.
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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