google

Making good on rumors that have been bouncing around for several months, the European Union officially filed anti-trust charges against Google on Wednesday. The Commission will formally investigate whether the tech firm has abused its dominance in search results, as well as within its Android operating system.

In the near term this doesn’t mean much—there will be a lengthy investigation and likely a trial. But in the long term, if Google were to be found guilty, it could face a fine of up to $6 billion (10% of its annual revenue) and various business-altering restrictions. Many pundits are comparing it to Microsoft in the late 90’s.

From the European Commission’s Statement of Objections:

  • Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits. This conduct started in 2008.
  • Google does not apply to its own comparison shopping service the system of penalties, which it applies to other comparison shopping services on the basis of defined parameters, and which can lead to the lowering of the rank in which they appear in Google’s general search results pages.
  • Froogle, Google’s first comparison shopping service, did not benefit from any favourable treatment, and performed poorly.
  • As a result of Google’s systematic favouring of its subsequent comparison shopping services“Google Product Search” and “Google Shopping”, both experienced higher rates of growth, to the detriment of rival comparison shopping services.
  • Google’s conduct has a negative impact on consumers and innovation. It means that users do not necessarily see the most relevant comparison shopping results in response to their queries, and that incentives to innovate from rivals are lowered as they know that however good their product, they will not benefit from the same prominence as Google’s product.

And from its formal Android investigation press release:

  • whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival mobile applications or services by requiring or incentivising smartphone and tablet manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google’s own applications or services;
  • whether Google has prevented smartphone and tablet manufacturers who wish to install Google’s applications and services on some of their Android devices from developing and marketing modified and potentially competing versions of Android (so-called “Android forks”) on other devices, thereby illegally hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems and mobile applications or services;
  • whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival applications and services by tying or bundling certain Google applications and services distributed on Android devices with other Google applications, services and/or application programming interfaces of Google.

It’s worth pointing out that none of this should have a direct effect on Google search results or Android within the United States and other countries. The Federal Trade Commission just concluded a two-year anti-trust investigation into the Mountain View company, and concluded that it didn’t violate US monopoly laws.

Source: European Commission

  • John Smith

    When the people want to research info for the anti lawsuit thing they will use google and use apps on an android phone download from the google play store. If you remove Google you remove so much stuff.

  • Kr00

    Well if they didn’t act like an ice addict with advertising, they wouldn’t break the law now would they?

    • George

      It isn’t illegal to promote your services on your products period.

      • Kr00

        No point debating it with an apologist for Google and their rabid thirst for other peoples information. They have a disgraceful track record in this area, but you obviously don’t seem to care. Well, the courts will decide, not fanboys like you.

      • George

        Lol yeah, we’ll see.

      • Kr00

        Oh, lol. Because every intelligent conversation begins with Lol, doesn’t it? For teenage girls!

      • George

        Get the fk away dude. I don’t care for your opinion.

      • Kr00

        Ditto, imbecile.

  • Rigs101

    $6 billion is 10 percent of their annual income? If I was drug dealing I’d say it’s time to switch careers

  • Of course the FCC found nothing wrong with this… The USA is so out of whack in so any ways nowadays.

    • This Guy

      but but but… FREEDOM! you are WRONG because FREEDOM… and stuff..I think? Yeah! Amerika! What a country. I kind of hope it falls in my lifetime, not that I get off on destruction but it feels like my whole life is such a lie and full of propaganda… I do want to watch this one thing burn to the ground. It will make me feel better anyways. Know what I mean?

      • George

        You can leave whenever you want.

      • Denali_

        “Instead of expressing your distaste for America you should just leave if you don’t like it!” Is this always the argument when presented to Americans? This is all I ever see is
        “America sucks because xyz”
        “Oh yeah? Well, just leave”

      • George

        I don’t see how a company promoting their services on their software is illegal? Google isn’t forcing people to not use bing or any other services.

      • This Guy

        Yeah, that’s the typical response from someone who is too far gone (brainwashed) to think for him/herself when presented with a different opinion.

      • This Guy

        Why should I leave, George? Where should I go, George? Here’s a question for you, George- where on this planet can I go and get away from statism? Don’t tell me Antarctica…because as an ‘American’…I still need ‘permission’ from my masters to even visit that continent. Did you know that, George? This whole planet is a prison. But I still want to see THIS place burn down…fvck it.

      • George

        : ).