Print 31 comment(s) - last by Lazarus Dark.. on Aug 5 at 10:04 PM

The EU will probe whether Google was "evil" in the search market. The EU is investigating nine reports of abuse against Google.  (Source: Google Images)
Investigation of internet and mobile device giant expands to nine complaints

According to a Reuters report citing two unnamed sources, the European Union's probe into possible antitrust violations by Google Inc. (GOOG) has greatly expanded.  Google, who recently set aside $500M USD to deal with antitrust settlements, is accused of various wrongdoings in nine different complaints.  The EU had only received four complaints, previously.

A source comments, "The Commission has nine formal complaints now. The new complaints come from small companies."

But while the EU may be probing Google to see if it's been naughty, Simon Holmes, the chief of SJ Berwin, a lawyer at EU and competition law firm, says that the new complaints don't necessarily mean game over for Google.  He remarks, "Google's strong position means there are lots of interests involved. But there is nothing wrong per se in having a strong position. The mere proliferation of complaints doesn't increase the likelihood of infringements. It means there are issues certain parties want to be investigated."

The first three complaints were filed by small web content providers who accused Google of demoting their sites in its search results, to push users to its own competitive offerings.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), who was previously slammed by the EU with a then-record $1.4B USD fine for its own alleged antitrust violations, filed its first ever complaint with EU regulators, claiming Google was blocking internet search competition.

EU regulators can fine a company up to 10 percent of its global revenue.  Thus far the biggest fines have come against Microsoft and, more recently, Intel Corp. (INTC), who was fined $1.45B USD in 2009.

In the U.S. Google faces a pending U.S. Federal Trade Commission probe and a Sept. 21 U.S. Senate hearing scrutinizing its dominant position.  These various actions add insult to the recent injury at the hands of Apple, Inc. (AAPL), who is suing [1][2][3][4][5] Google's top hardware partners internationally in a bid to stifle its Android operating system.  Microsoft, who's battling for EU action against Google, is also applying legal pressure [1][2] to get its own cut of Android revenue.

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Yeah right
By borismkv on 8/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah right
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah right
By tng on 8/3/2011 6:49:37 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe the burned through the money that they got from Microsoft already and need more for the party fund. Find the next large cash rich American target, oops, I mean company and get more.

RE: Yeah right
By michael67 on 8/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah right
By tng on 8/3/2011 9:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
The fine was 1% of the budget
Still, that is quite of few really good parties.

Is there a reason that half of your post is like this?

RE: Yeah right
By jhb116 on 8/3/2011 11:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
The reason everyone gangs up on the EU is they have fined alot of high earning US based companies based on dubious reasons - billions over free internet browsers - really??? Now what are they going after Google for? Search dominance? And if so what is the end state that will make the market more fair? As far as search results - paying for more "shelf space" - is a common practice in brick and mortar stores so the problem (yes I agree it is a problem) needs to be tackled across the board, however, fining or even investigating Google for it is hardly the way to go about it.

A more logical target would be Apple - especially if they succeed in their lawsuits against Android.

RE: Yeah right
By silverblue on 8/4/2011 3:24:13 AM , Rating: 1
The reason everyone gangs up on the EU is they have fined alot of high earning US based companies based on dubious reasons

I don't call fining Intel for trying to force AMD out of business a "dubious reason". In any case, Intel got off VERY lightly. They most certainly cost AMD far more than the fine Intel received.

Similarly, Microsoft was also engaging in anti-competitive practices. There's a reason as to why people got the Browser Choice on Windows.

The point of all this is, if you're going to do business in the EU, don't cry if you get caught doing something you shouldn't be. Fortunately for these companies, the money doesn't go to help its rivals.

If we're going to have anymore companies dragged in front of the European courts for anti-competitive practices, may I suggest Creative Labs first and foremost? ;)

RE: Yeah right
By Lazarus Dark on 8/5/2011 10:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
We already had a browser choice. In fact by the time EU finally forced MS to give the "choice" screen, Firefox was already making a significant dent in the browser market. If EU had just let the market decide, it would have been the same as it currently stands, those fines changed nothing except ripping of Microsoft (and I hate MS, but they still didn't deserve that).
I chose Firefox on my own along with millions of others. And as for the rest? 90 percent of average pc users just plain dont care what browser they use as long as it works.

Personally I don't really care what Intel did or didn't do. The market still chose. Enthusiasts go for whoever has the best chips currently, while consumers go with whatever is cheapest. I don't really think the EU's fines changed that either.

The EU is full of itself and thinks it's big enough to do whatever it wants now. Eventually... someone is going to have to knock them down a peg.

RE: Yeah right
By michael67 on 8/4/2011 4:56:31 AM , Rating: 1
based on dubious reasons

I found that most of the reasons made a lot of sense to me, but that most people from the US only read the one liner head on article's, and never really investigated the real reasons.

The EU have other standards and rules of doing business then in the US, will not say that they are better or worse, but just as EU companies have to follow US law when doing business in the US, the same thing go's the other way around.

Google for? Search dominance?

No not for that, its for Google's 70% dominance in the advertising business, and pushing others out of the market.

Every one thinks what Google dose is ok.
Because Google search is free, off course its free, but for Google its all a bout dominating the portal to the internet, or do you think all those Google billions came from no ware?

To educate your self more, see this BBC series on "secrets of the superbrands" the following episode is about technology.

But the episode's about food and fashion are also very interesting

RE: Yeah right
By Strunf on 8/4/2011 7:47:05 AM , Rating: 1
MS, Intel and Google make a good deal of money in Europe, it only seems fair to me that Europe probes these companies as much as needed regardless of their origins, you know the saying "once in Rome act like a Roman" but I guess this is hard to understand when your mindset is limited to bullying everyone around including in their own house.

PS: You're quite wrong if you think "Europe" doesn't fine european companies, you just don't hear about it cause it's unimportant to you.

RE: Yeah right
By xNIBx on 8/4/2011 10:59:25 AM , Rating: 2
The EU has fined european companies and countries multiple times in the past. This has nothing to do with the fact that google is an american company. But hey, dont let the facts stop you from telling a great nationalistic story.

RE: Yeah right
By ClownPuncher on 8/3/2011 7:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
Europe isn't fascist or totalitarian, who told you that? They are a bit socialist, though!

RE: Yeah right
By michael67 on 8/5/2011 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah socialism is bad, but do people actually know what it means?

It dose not mean that if you don't feel like working that the state will provide.

It dose mean that things like healthcare is (partly) provided by the state, and that its regulated by the state.

It also means that workers have a say in how businesses operate.
It also means that EU workers have more protection and rights then US workers.

In my own experiences working in the US and Europe, I prefer the European system, and even do I make less money then what I made in the US, If things go bad I have a mouths bigger social net to fall back on.

If I would lose my job beyond my control, it would at least take 2 years before I would loose my house if you below a certain income.
(I would loose all the extra money I can spend now but the state would pay the bills to a certain point, and I have to be actively be looking for a other job)

RE: Yeah right
By LordSojar on 8/3/2011 11:50:15 PM , Rating: 1
Europe is collapsing under it's own fascist/socialist/totalitarian weight. I guess after they sue everyone they can for billions they might have to face their own failings without these bailouts.

Right.... except it's Germany bailing everyone out and they aren't the ones suing companies.

How are fascism and socialism even remotely related? The same applies to totalitarianism and socialism.... I... don't...riiiiight.

Only a few countries in the EU are failing, and those are small countries that overextended themselves with unsustainable social programs. The larger countries with similar or better programs are just fine.. doing quite well actually. So, it might pay to read another news source beyond Faux News sometime, or ya know... actually go to Europe at some point and understand it for yourself instead of absorbing some sound bite some skewed reporter vomited out last night.

RE: Yeah right
By Qi on 8/4/2011 6:25:32 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed, where do people get that nonsense? The European Union member states combined have a lower total debt level in comparison with the United States. And the E.U. as a whole has a smaller total budget deficit too, if you compare it with the U.S.. Also, Europe's biggest economy, Germany, is booming and experiencing growth rates of more than 3%.

That said, some smaller countries are in trouble though. But Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined make up only 7% of the total economy. That's nothing compared to, for example, California, which was/is on the brink of bankruptcy and represents a massive 14% of the U.S. economy. And the E.U. countries haven't experienced government shutdown. In the U.S., Minnesota is having a government shutdown right now!

The problems Europe is having now can be solved entirely in just a few months if European politicians have the will to do so. Realize that the current crisis is not so much financial but political. If the Eurozone implements Eurozone Bonds as an alternative to U.S. Treasuries this mess is over in an instant. Eventually Eurozone Bonds will happen and with the European Financial Stability Facility major steps towards full fiscal integration have been taken already.


Euro crisis? What Euro crisis?

RE: Yeah right
By Reclaimer77 on 8/5/2011 5:05:22 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not saying Europe is ANY of those. But simply whenever everyone uses a monicker for Europe (socialist etc etc), someone gets into a long winded soap box about how Europe isn't really socialist/communist/fascist - what have you.

So I threw in all the terms in one fell swoop to appease everyone. Of course this still failed, cause DT readers are uptight and looking for a fight, but there you have it. I rather the discussion be on the topic then someone's definition of a word, that's all.

Only a few countries in the EU are failing, and those are small countries that overextended themselves with unsustainable social programs. The larger countries with similar or better programs are just fine.. doing quite well actually.

I don't consider European economies in their BEST days as "doing well", and sure as hell not currently. In Europe 15%+ unemployment is a "good day". As a terrible stupid fat inbred American (leave any out?), I find that appalling. Especially when I can see what similar rates lately have done to our economy here.

Plus you're just lying. Europe, as a whole, is in serious trouble. I love how when Europe is doing "well", you guys herald the greatness of the European Union. When things are going bad, you selectively point out the countries. Which is it? Are you a union or not?

So, it might pay to read another news source beyond Faux News sometime

Oh that's funny. Sorry but EVERY major network is commenting on Europe's "collapse". Don't give me this crap that every time someone speaks about Europe it's a right wing conspiracy.

CNN MONEY (yeah, SUPER right wing...)

Spiegel Online International,1518...

Turkish Weekly (clearly a subsidiary of Faux??)


You wanna flame me, fine go ahead. But please explain to me how every news network on the planet right now is using the term "European collapse" or "crisis"? You're explanation that it's just a few "smaller countries" is frankly a load of bull.

or ya know... actually go to Europe...

A pathetic argument. You don't need to "live" somewhere to analyze economics.

And you need to relax and stop taking this personal. My country is freaking bankrupt and is in serious trouble. It's not like I'm judging Europe or bashing Europeans here.

RE: Yeah right
By Reclaimer77 on 8/5/2011 5:07:04 PM , Rating: 1
RE: Yeah right
By Paj on 8/4/2011 8:06:40 AM , Rating: 1
Fascist? Totalitarian?


Do you even know what any of these terms mean?

RE: Yeah right
By B3an on 8/4/2011 8:03:32 PM , Rating: 1
Of course not. He's American! They don't educated people in that backwards part of the world, which explains a lot.

On top of that over 80% are religious nuts and don't even ever leave there own country, so have no idea just how much of s***hole it is.

It's the o@$@ way they'll pay tax!
By BugblatterIII on 8/3/2011 7:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
These corporations have figured out how to pay a fraction of the tax they should, what with the Double Irish and the Dutch Sandwich and so on.

This is the only way to get money out of the buggers! Otherwise it comes from the rest of us!

By BugblatterIII on 8/3/2011 7:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
Huh, why did 'only' appear as 'o@$@' in the title?

RE: It's the o@$@ way they'll pay tax!
By StanO360 on 8/3/2011 8:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, it's not like it will just raise the cost of their products or reduce dividends to the millions of investors(including mutual funds, Calpers etc)!

By BugblatterIII on 8/4/2011 3:45:17 AM , Rating: 2
The same would be true if they paid it in tax. Why don't we just make corporations totally tax exempt and remove the need for them to set up shell corporations in low-tax countries to avoid contributing to the country they took the money from? After all, setting up those companies and moving all that money around probably costs them some money.

Besides, companies charge whatever price the market will support; increasing their costs would reduce their profit not increase their prices. It's a long long time since the price of a product was based on its intrinsic worth and the cost of producing it. Welcome to capitalism.

By ender707 on 8/4/2011 3:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
I remember when I first saw the article about the EU fining Microsoft over Internet Explorer and I thought it was ridiculous.

Fining Microsoft for providing IE on its own Operating System would be like fining McDonald's for providing straws with their drinks.

What could they possibly want from Google, royalties on Android?

By silverblue on 8/4/2011 3:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
Fining Microsoft for providing IE on its own Operating System would be like fining McDonald's for providing straws with their drinks.

Not quite the same thing. Most end user machines run a copy of Windows, and by extension, have a copy of IE. Microsoft, therefore, is using its dominant position in the OS market to give you a pre-packaged browser without offering you any alternative. Typically, the browser is your gateway to the internet.

Nobody's forcing people to eat at McDonald's, and you don't need to use a straw to have a drink when you're in there as you have an alternative; straight drinking from the cup. I'm just not sure how this analogy fits.

By trooper11 on 8/4/2011 11:28:40 AM , Rating: 3
The problem I always had with the MS stuff was that MS wasnt banning other browsers and as far I could tell, they didnt do anything to make it difficult to find them.

This was a case of multiple competitors lashing out at MS simply becuase they threw in a browser with thier OS. I was never convinced that MS was doing anything improper by bundling it that way. Anyone who cared enough about thier web browsing could find and install an alternative. It shouldnt be MS' job to advertise or manage 3rd party alternatives, but thats exactly what the EU forced them to do.

All the while we have OSX bundled with Safari and Google Chrome bundled with Chrome, free to ignore the the same rules impose on MS. I get the need to keep companies from taking illegal steps to keep competition out, but I just didnt see that happening here. competition was already there in the browser world, and it was florishing (firefox was anyway)

So yeah, there should be oversight, but sometimes it feels like they have swung too far the other way and instead of trying to keep a 'level playing field', they end up with one that favors one or several groups over another.

More concerned about privacy-issues actua$**
By jrs77 on 8/3/2011 8:51:26 PM , Rating: 1
I'm more concerned about my privacy when it comes to Google actually. Google linked Youtube a few month back to your GMail-accoutn for example, so when you log into Youtube your GMail-account gets logged in aswell.
Then there's Android that links to your GMail-account and basically keeps connected aslong as your Android-based hardware is powered, etc.

Google Streetview not asking for permission to picture your property is another good example and the list goes on a little bit more, like being logged in Google-search when you log in to Youtube and have all your searches tracked.

These are the real issues the politicians should investigate in and take legal action against it, denying them to link, track and create profiles like they do.

By tng on 8/3/2011 9:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
Google Streetview not asking for permission to picture your property is another good example
Yes, but there are ways of getting your property off of Google Streetview. In my travels I have seen odd buildings that looked high security. When I looked them up on Google Streetview, they weren't there, only pics from before the building was built, while the structures on each side of them were current. Somehow you can get out of Streetview.

By sabbede on 8/3/2011 10:40:00 PM , Rating: 3
Anybody can drive past your property and look at it. What's the problem? If someone is really concerned about having a picture of their house on streetview, then logically they should have a problem with any passerby looking at it - therefore they should already have put up a bigass wall making the issue moot.
If of course you only have a problem with StreetView and not being viewed from the street, you haven't thought things out very well.

Personally, I like the convenience of the single login. If I'm looking for privacy (you know, for porn) I can just click logout.

It's ok
By FITCamaro on 8/3/2011 7:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
They like it rough.

By psaus42 on 8/4/2011 2:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
Great headline FTW!

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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