Friday, July 15, 2016

EU Launches Third Round of Anti-Trust Charges Against Google

 

Google Headquarters
 
The European Commission is continuing its campaign against Google with new anti-trust charges.
The regulatory body today officially accused the Alphabet-owned company of suppressing competition and hurting consumers due to “systematically favoring” its own comparison shopping service in its search results.

The Commission has also sent a Statement of Objection to Google accusing the tech firm of restricting third-party websites from advertising with its competitors.

“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a press release.

“But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate. Today, we have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages. It means consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation.”

Google will now have the chance to respond to the Commission’s concerns.

Vestager said she would consider Google’s arguments “carefully” before deciding if she will move ahead with either case.

“But if our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets,” she added.
The latest charges come just two months after the Commission slapped Google with a $3.4-billion anti-trust fine. The fine was the conclusion of a six-year investigation into the tech firm’s search practices. The amount Google will be fined could actually end up being higher than the $3.4 billion because the EU can fine the company as much as 10 percent of its annual sales — at least $6 billion in Google’s case.

Vestager, in April, also filed charges against Google, accusing it of breaching anti-trust law with its Android operating system.

In a formal Statement of Objections, the EU said a nearly-three-year investigation found that Google uses a strategy on mobile devices that reinforces its dominance in general Internet searches.

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