Google Gets "Last Chance" to Settle With EU on Antitrust Abuses
May 21, 2012 2:50 PM
comment(s) - last by
Google stands accused of boosting its ad services while suppressing rival ad vendors
A host of small competitors -- including TripAdvisor (Mass., U.S.), Opodo (pan-European), Hotmaps (German), Foundem (UK), and eDreams (UK) -- have filed complaints against Google Inc. (
) before antitrust regulators in the European Union accusing the smartphone operating system and search giant of
manipulating search results to boost its own offerings
. Google offers a variety of services, which are monetized through advertising.
Microsoft Corp. (
), an online advertising rival of Google's, is the largest firm to have complained to the EU about the alleged abuses. Currently there are 16 complaints against Google.
Net Market Share
] both estimate Google to control roughly 81 percent of the search market. Microsoft's Bing is thought be in second place with nearly 9 percent. In Europe Google's market share is estimated to reach even higher -- approximately 86 percent, according to
, another online statistics service.
An EU antitrust probe against Google
was first launched in 2010, looking into the claims of search abuse. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia says that like Google, the European Commission -- Europe's antitrust watchdog -- is eager to avoid fines or trouble from non-compliance.
The EU is concerned Google is abusing its dominant search position.
[Image Source: Google Images/Unknown]
The EU investigation found signs that Google did indeed abuse its dominant position. But the EU is willing to avoid formal charges if Google vows to change it ways and commits to a closely monitored program of compliance.
In a letter Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, Mr. Almunia writes:|
Google Inc. has repeatedly expressed to me its willingness to discuss any concerns that the Commission might have without having to engage in adversarial proceedings. This is why I am today giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address the concerns we have already identified.
In this letter, I offer Google the possibility to come up in a matter of weeks with first proposals of remedies...
If Google comes up with an outline of remedies which are capable of addressing our concerns, I will instruct my staff to initiate the discussions in order to finalise a remedies package. This would allow to solve our concerns by means of a commitment decision – pursuant to Article 9 of the EU Antitrust Regulation - instead of having to pursue formal proceedings with a Statement of objections and to adopt a decision imposing fines and remedies.
David Wood, a lawyer for lobbying group ICOMP whose members include Microsoft, Foundem, and Hotmaps, explains that non-compliance or failure to respond convincingly will likely bring on formal charges. He
, "This is effectively the Commission demanding remedies, failing that there will be a statement of objections (EU charge sheet)."
EU regulators say this is Google's "last chance". [Image Source: LucasFilm, Ltd.]
Europe's antitrust laws allow regulators to fine up to 10 percent of a violator's global revenue. While the EU is best known for its massive billion-plus dollar
fines of Intel
) for persistent antitrust violations, the region's regulators have also made peace with other investigation subjects.
As Mr. Almunia points out in his letter/threat to Google, International Business Machines, Inc. (
) faced a similar investigation in 2011, but was able to
resolve it without formal charges
being filed. While Google disputes wrongdoing in the case, it may wish to follow IBM's lead in order to avoid painful fines.
IBM wisely avoided EU fines in a similar probe, while Microsoft and Intel
"did things the hard way". [Image Source: Reuters/Rick Wilking]
Even if Google settles, Mr. Almunia says it will still face some other probes, such as an investigation into complaints that Google
"snooped" on private communications on unsecured networks
, using its "Street View" cars.
Europa [EU Press Release]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Search Engine Ballot Box
5/21/2012 10:14:44 PM
There's no double standard because use of Google is 100% by choice. The EU's Internet Explorer complaint was that it came with Windows by default and you had no choice but to use it. Stupid in my opinion, but not the same as Google.
“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
FCC: Google Knowingly Used Street View Cars to Snoop on Emails, Texts
May 1, 2012, 3:16 AM
IBM Attempts to Settle EU Antitrust Investigation by Offering Concessions
September 20, 2011, 10:36 AM
EU Investigates Google Amid Claims of Abusing a Dominant Position in Search
November 30, 2010, 9:35 AM
Google at the Center of New Antitrust Probe by EU
February 24, 2010, 12:08 PM
European Commission Fines Intel $1.45B
May 13, 2009, 9:04 AM
Paramount Bans Team America Screenings, Cowers Submissively to North Korea
December 18, 2014, 10:26 PM
News Corp's Fox is Terrified of North Korea, Kills Upcoming Steve Carell Film
December 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
NPD: Online Shopping is up in 2014, But Brick & Mortar Retail is Booming Too
December 12, 2014, 9:09 AM
Amazon Joins 4K Arms Race, With Free 4K Streaming for Prime Members
December 10, 2014, 10:49 AM
Obama Tells Your Kids to Get Coding for CS Education Week
December 9, 2014, 8:01 AM
Microsoft Offers Office, Xbox, Skype Online Services Bundle for $149 -- 65% Off
December 8, 2014, 2:32 PM
Most Popular Articles
BlackBerry Classic Sells Out Online (Seriously, It Has) for North America
December 15, 2014, 7:07 PM
LaWS (Laser) "Kills" Boat-Hauled Fuel Tanks, UAV "Bomber" in the Persian Gulf
December 12, 2014, 8:31 PM
Quick Note: Windows Phone Finally Gets Candy Crush Saga
December 13, 2014, 2:03 PM
Lamborghini Offers Up $6,000 Leather-Bound Android Smartphone
December 12, 2014, 3:12 PM
After Coming So Close to Recovering, Northern White Rhino is Nearly Extinct
December 15, 2014, 11:30 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information