Tuesday

17th Jul 2018

Focus

Google says EU antitrust charges are 'wrong'

  • Google says EU allegations its service are anti-competitive are incorrect (Photo: OZinOH)

The European Commission's allegations that American internet company Google has abused its dominant market position are “wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics”, and the proposed remedy is “peculiar and problematic”, Google said in a blog post published Thursday (27 August).

The US tech giant announced that it has sent Brussels “evidence and data to show why the [EU's] concerns are unfounded”, but the company's formal response itself, said by some media to be over 100 pages, has not been released publicly.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

It sent its defence 19 weeks after the bloc's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager sent Google a “statement of objections”, outlining the preliminary conclusion that Google broke EU antitrust rules by favouring its own comparison shopping product in its regular search engine.

The internet giant said its response showed Vestager's allegations are “incorrect”.

Most relevant results

“We use traffic analysis to rebut claims that our ad displays and specialized organic results harmed competition by preventing shopping aggregators from reaching consumers. Economic data spanning more than a decade, an array of documents, and statements from complainants all confirm that product search is robustly competitive”, Google wrote.

When you search for a product in Google Search, Google may show advertisements from its Google Shopping feature.

By featuring Google's own shopping comparison service so prominently, it may “artificially divert traffic from rival comparison shopping services and hinder their ability to compete”, the commission said.

But Google responded – according to the blog – that this format is not anti-competitive.

“On the contrary, showing ads based on structured data provided by merchants demonstrably improves ad quality and makes it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for … That’s not 'favouring' - that’s giving our customers and advertisers what they find most useful".

It added Google's search engine “is designed to provide the most relevant results and most useful ads for any query. Users and advertisers benefit when we do this well”.

Google is in a arguing that its shopping comparison service is better than its rivals' services.

But the commission can be expected to counter that it is problematic that it is Google deciding that a Google service is better than its competitors'.

Google originally had 10 weeks to reply, but filed for, and received, an extended period to reply. Following Google's answer, the commission will see if it is convinced by Google's answer, or if its preliminary conclusions will stand.

There is no deadline for the commission to reach a final conclusion.

If the commission decides that Google has broken antitrust rules, it may be fined up to 10 percent of its annual turnover, which in 2014 was $66 billion.

Google faces possible EU fine

Google has 10 weeks to respond to the EU commission in a case that could see it fined up to 10 percent of its recent annual turnover.

Feature

EU to analyse role of Facebook and Google

The EU will start an assessment into the role of online platforms. But the increased influence of internet companies has already been discussed by 'internet critics' for several years.

Opinion

Fixing Europe’s digital skills gap

While 90 percent of jobs requires IT knowledge, almost half of the EU population is not properly digitally skilled. That's why training is key for the future, says Google Europe chief.

EU files new antitrust case against Google

Competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has added concerns over Google's advertising service to the pile of EU antitrust charges against the company.

EU charges Google over Android

The European Commission accuses Google of violating competition rules with its Android operating system for smartphones.

Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?

The success of the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will depend on whether data protection authorities enforce the new rules - which, in turn, will be at least partly determined by how many people they employ.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

News in Brief

  1. VW owners to get diesel software update free until 2020
  2. Airbnb breaches EU consumer rules, Commission says
  3. EU sees no China free-trade talks
  4. Italy accepts migrant boat after help promises
  5. EU opens case on Siemens' Alstom buyout
  6. Trump: May found my Brexit advice 'too brutal'
  7. Italy will reject EU-Canada trade deal, says deputy PM
  8. Commission: Juncker suffered from sciatica attack at Nato

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  2. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  3. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  4. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  5. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  6. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism
  7. Stage set for Trump-Putin finale
  8. Trump scuppers trade deal with UK under May's Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us