EU Doesn't Plan to Go Easy on Google (Like the FTC)
January 11, 2013 9:36 AM
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Europe's antitrust chief accused Google of diverting traffic
Google may have
gotten off pretty easy
with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this month, but it doesn't look like the European antitrust authorities will let Google go with a warning and a slap on the wrist.
Joaquin Almunia, Europe's antitrust chief, recently said that Google is providing search results that promote its own services instead of fairly showing those of competitors.
"We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic," said Almunia. "They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think -- I fear -- there is an abuse of this dominant position."
Almunia added that he agreed with the FTC's recent decision to force Google to change its business practices, but the EU's punishment at the investigation's conclusion will "not be weaker."
Google could have to pay the EU a fine as high as 10 percent of its global annual turnover, which would be about $3.79 billion.
Earlier this month,
Google managed to escape a nearly two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation
without paying any fines
Instead of paying fines, the FTC made Google promise that it would stop scraping reviews and information from other websites, stop requesting sales bans when suing companies for patent infringement and allow advertisers to export data in order to evaluate advertising campaigns.
The decision to not fine Google after such a long investigation surprised many rival companies like Microsoft and Nextag, who believe Google won't learn its lesson unless there are severe consequences.
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Is this just another way for the EU to extort money to support the lazy?
1/11/2013 10:46:25 AM
I'd really like to know what becomes of all the monies from these 'Fines'. This just seems like an easy way for the EU to extort money. Kind of like how the Mexican police will take your watch and any jewelry you have on....before dropping you off down the road. This does happen and I know of a specific case, so don't fly off the handle about it being a "racist" comment.
The EU seems to pick and choose what it takes offense to and what is allowed. Case in point, MS is fined millions for integrating IE in windows, but has NEVER prevented any user from installing and using a different browser....Yet Apple enjoys the luxury of forcing it's collective to use Itunes for adding content onto their IProducts and there are no other options allowed. You cant' even (Legally) load Apples OS on to any other hardware other than Apples (e.g. Hackintosh setup by loading MacOS on PC). Apple is THE most controlling and restrictive company today and yet they continue to go unpunished because of the millions of sheep that continue to wear blinders. Since Apple has been raking in billions in reviews and its sheep continue to jump to Apples whims....This is why MS has created it's own APP Store with Win8. At least with Android devices, you have a choice to purchase from at least 6 different APP stores simply by un-checking an option in the OS settings at your own choosing.
Knowledge is power and until the collective sheep start thinking outside of the cult culture....more and more of our freedom of choice will be replaced with mandatory compliance.
Best wishes on the coming year,
RE: Is this just another way for the EU to extort money to support the lazy?
1/11/2013 1:00:38 PM
The proposed fine is a minute and tiny amount compared to the EU's budget. The desire to collect revenue is not the main motivation for the EU action
Microsoft have a monopoly share of the desktop PC market and have been convicted of using illegal monopoly tactics in the past in the browser space, hence the EU interest and resulting action.
Google have a monopoly share of the search market and anybody serious about a business which involves web selling and marketing has to appear in Google search of effectively disappear from search and thus die. And so using the access that Google gets from it's search system to collect and then repackage other people's data in order to to enhance Google's own and competing product is a monopolist act.
Apple does not have a monopoly in any market or product sector it operates in, in fact in everything other than tablets Apple is a minority player, and so no consumer is forced to do anything as there are always plenty of alternative non-Apple products to choose from. If they choose Apple and the iTunes model then it is a free and unpressured choice. If people want to use the so called 'open' Android model they are free to do so without their choice being constrained by any pressure from a non-existant Apple monopoly.
One way to assess whether a monopoly exists is to consider whether a very large and predominant market share creates a situation where by not using the dominant product,
or any other products from the same company
, results in problems for the consumer and thus create a pressure directly stemming from a large market share in one product to use another offering from the same company.
RE: Is this just another way for the EU to extort money to support the lazy?
1/11/2013 9:37:57 PM
"all the monies" is pocket change and nothing more. You really should read just a little about what the EU is, here are a few facts to get you started:
- EU is a union of 27 countries.
- The combined population of those countries is aprox a ½ billion people.
- Consumer protection laws are strong in the EU and that also means laws to ensure fair and open competition thus anti-trust laws are strict.
- The EU is a bigger economy than the US and while some member countries are struggling as a whole the is much better funded than the US. If China and the arab oil states wasn't carrying the US and so allowing for the absurd national debt to go on the US would be like Greece.
As for the EU doing a pick and choose that is simply not so - it is merely that you hear about anti-trust cases in the EU when it involves US companies. And also while I can certainly agree that Apple is evil and that they do their best to lock in the customers Apple is no where near having the same kind of market control as Microsoft. There is only two areas where Apple is or has been close to holding a de facto monopoly and that is online music and eBooks - and guess what the EU is following those areas closely and has in fact forced some changes.
PS. The Microsoft thing was not about them preventing users installing another browser. It was about Microsoft using their OS dominance to gain similar control over other markets and had they not been held up just a bit then it would have been much worse than what we have now. Try and read on Netscape vs Microsoft and then extrapolate from there. For instance ask yourself what happened to RealPlayer when Microsoft got serious about their MediaPlayer making damn sure it came with every Windows install.
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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