EC Demands Stronger Remedies to Google Search Engine Dominance
Simpson noted with concern in the letter that the proposed settlement would not apply to Google.com, which is the site he said is the one most commonly used by Europeans. I requested a comment from Google regarding the EC’s notice that a better proposal was needed, but have not received a response. The antitrust environment in Europe is quite different from that in the U.S. In the situation with Google, for example, the company’s competitors are actively involved in working out a solution and it’s the competitors that must agree that any proposal by Google adequately resolves the issue. In addition, if Google’s competitors in Europe don’t think that the EC has done enough to put Google on a level playing field, they can sue the European Commission. This is an eventuality that the EC is trying to avoid and it’s the competitors’ response to Google’s initial proposal that led to the demands for greater concessions. Those competitors include some European sites such as Foundem, as well as U.S.-based companies including Microsoft. Google’s search business is its bread and butter in Europe as it is elsewhere, but that’s not the only place where Google is in trouble. The company’s Android mobile operating system is also being investigated for antitrust violations.In the U.S. the activities by Google are kept slightly in bounds because of the amount of vocal opposition, as well as the fact that there is some real competition. Microsoft’s Bing, for example, is steadily increasing its market share. In Europe the situation is different, but I suspect that Google did not expect the amount of push-back it’s getting over its search engine operations But if my experience using Google in Europe is any indication, Google really is abusing its near total monopoly on search in the EU, and it’s actively looking for ways to sidestep regulation. But at least in the EU, Google could find itself with actual regulations. Maybe it will encourage Google to play nice with the rest of the world, too.
If a lot of this seems familiar to you in the U.S., that’s because it echoes much of the concern that’s followed Google’s activities here. Google’s many activities, from its recording of information from WiFi hotspots to the concerns about Google Glass, have led to criticism of the way in which Google impacts privacy.