EU Antitrust Case Against Google Shopping Much Ado About Very Little
NEWS ANALYSIS: The European antitrust case is surprisingly minor, very thin, and more related to local politics than about Google business practices.As is usually the case when a news event takes place that relatively few people understand, the Internet fills with prophesies of doom while unbridled fear and unfounded gossip circulates among bloggers and on social media. This is what's happening now that the European Union's governing body, the European Commission, announced that it was sending Google a Statement of Objections relating to the way it does a tiny part of its business. Specifically, the EC will allege that Google is giving preferential treatment to its lightly- used shopping service, Google Shopping. Never heard of Google Shopping, you say? That's probably because it's easy to miss. But just so you'll know, when you enter the name of a product and see a row of photos and prices in the search results, that may be Google Shopping. Or, it might be something else. In my experience Google Shopping provides a necessary service by presenting poorly- priced options. By using Google Shopping, you'll know how much is too much to pay. That's it. That's the totality of the European complaint. There's also an Android complaint that's expected shortly based on the default location of icons on smartphones. Google is strongly disagreeing with the EC on both Search and Android.
The hue and cry that you're hearing from European politicians is not really related to any ongoing antitrust action. In fact, my experience has been that this anti-American rhetoric is strictly for local consumption. Politicians in Europe can get votes by running against Washington, just as they can in the U.S.