Google rebuts 'unfounded' EU antitrust claims

The search giant says the conclusions in the EU commission's Statement of Obligations "are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics."

In April the European Commission accused Google of violating the European Union's antitrust rules by abusing its dominance in search results to gain an unfair advantage over rivals.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement at the time that Google would have the opportunity to convince the commission otherwise, or else face billions of dollars in fines.

After mulling over the accusations for some time, Google has submitted a response to the European Commission's Statement of Objections that asserts the antitrust claims and its concerns are incorrect and unfounded.

"We believe that the SO's preliminary conclusions are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics," Google general counsel and SVP Kent Walker wrote in a blog post Thursday, adding that the commission "doesn't counter the significant benefits to consumers and advertisers, and doesn't provide a clear legal theory to connect its claims with its proposed remedy."

Walker also said Google can prove how the commission failed to consider the impact of major shopping services like Amazon and eBay, two of the largest players in the space.

In its own defense, Google says improving quality is not anti-competitive.

More specifically, the search giant says its ads are based on merchant feeds, which are updated more frequently and provide more structured and up-to-date information to consumers.

In doing so, Google says it is providing consumers a better experience, which in turn leads to more traffic for participating merchants.

Moreover, Google insists its strategy creates a thriving ecosystem which, rather than fostering disparity, is actually an equalizer of the marketplace, because its gives small businesses the same access to customers as it does for big businesses.

The charges have brought to a head the EC's five-year investigation into Google's business practices in Europe, where it has a more than 90 percent market share for search. In addition to the search claims, the commission has accused Google of reusing content from rivals without authorization, and forcing publishers to use Google ads.


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