Thursday

29th Oct 2020

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

News in Brief

  1. Kaczyński attacks feminism in apocalyptic terms
  2. US official berates new EU farm policy
  3. Corona death-toll in Europe up 40 percent
  4. Turkey's France boycott goes against EU trade deals
  5. Study identifies four problems in political social media
  6. Court: Belgium violated human rights with Sudan deportations
  7. Frontex launches inquiry into alleged pushbacks
  8. Italy: Police uses teargas against anti-lockdown protests

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Belarus: Where's the EU when you need it?
  2. MEPs hear clash over occupied Hungarian drama school
  3. EU Commission sticks to €20bn AI target, despite Covid
  4. Confusion over Frontex's Greek pushback investigation
  5. MEPs push for limited 'right-to-repair' on consumer devices
  6. What American decline means for Europe
  7. Post-Covid is a different world - EU needs to secure a role
  8. Post-Brexit UK vs EU on Ukraine's future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us