Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

Summary: Google is set to receive a 'statement of objections' next month from European antitrust regulators, that detail alleged abuses of its search dominance.

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European antitrust authorities are preparing to issue search giant Google with a 'statement of objections', reportedly 400 pages in length, detailing objections and accusations of "multifaceted abuse" of its search dominance.

The European Commission opened a formal investigation into allegations that the search giant abused its position as the leader of the online search market, by unlawfully favouring its own services over that of rival companies.

Should Google be found to be flouting European antitrust laws, it could be fined up to 10 percent of its annual turnover -- thought to be in the region of $3 billion (€2.24 bn).

(Source: Flickr)

Such formal proceedings followed complaints made by other search engines, including Microsoft-owned search engine Ciao!, along with Foundem, and eJustice. An array of other companies followed shortly after, accusing Google of 'cooking' its search results to favour its own products and services.

The Commission is also investigating whether Google lowered the "Quality Score" for sponsored links of rival firms and competing services.

The 'statement of objections' is a formal document that will lay out the results of the investigation, but more often than not is not disclosed to the public. Google will have two months to respond.

The company will have two options: it could settle, or it could proceed in battling the case, and face the hefty fine.

The Financial Times reports sources 'close to the case' that the supposed 400-page document will land on chief executive Larry Page's desk early next year.

Microsoft was in a similar position only a few years ago regarding the outcome of its European antitrust case, where the company was forced to serve Windows users in Europe were with a hotfix to force a 'browser ballot' screen.

Though Microsoft settled the case, and therefore avoided the 10 percent annual turnover fine, Google may not be able to get off so lightly, it is believed.

It is thought that Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who recently had to face the U.S. Senate, after the FTC opened its own investigation into whether the search giant 'cooked' up search results, will be in Brussels next week. Schmidt is expected to speak to regulators to smooth over any possible bumps in the road in its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Seeing as Europe began its investigation before the U.S. authorities did, there could be a case precedence set, whereby the U.S. antitrust authorities seek the European Commission's results and follows suit.

Whether or not it does, the outcome will certainly add impact to the parallel U.S. result; even though the two cases are somewhat different, in that the U.S. investigation also encompasses mobile-based search results, where the European investigation does not.

European regulators said it would give Google a provisional answer by January 10th, next month.

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Topic: Google

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15 comments
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  • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

    rut -roh
    whatagenda
  • don't understand

    i don't get it. how is this different than you buy a new pc and bing and bing bar and bing search is everywhere. i just bought a netbook and wanted to change the search engine to google. it ain't staring you in the face. you download chrome and start it and the first thing you see is an option for your search engine. the average user (my entire family) wouldn't have a clue how to change the default searcch in ie.
    msn is everywhere, live is everywhere. bing is everywhere. how is this different? i'm asking for real.
    oneleft
    • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

      @oneleft
      ...wanted to change the search engine to google....
      You could try a search in Bing, say: IE change search provider
      22,2000,000 results

      Honestly, does something like that throw you?

      HTH and you're welcome.
      Joe
      seosamh_z
      • reading comprehension?

        @seosamh_z <br>you read "it aint' staring you in the face" and you got from that that it somehow threw me? the comparison with how easy it is to change it in chrome? you miss that part did ya? the whole point of the average user? miss that too?<br><br>do us all a favor. take a day off.
        oneleft
    • Have you tried typing in www.google.com?

      @oneleft

      Works like a dream.
      jorwell
      • u 2?

        @jorwell
        did ya bother to read my post or are you another one that thinks comprehension isn't a necessity as long as you can post what i'm sure you think is some kind of SNAP! response?

        you need that day off as well.
        oneleft
    • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

      @oneleft

      It isn't 'staring you in the face', but it's hardly rocket science. Also, your family must be slow. Everyone in my family changed the search engine easily.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • ZING!

        @Michael Alan Goff <br>another winner! my family is slow! dang boy, yours is a truly singular mind! no, my family ain't nerds, they do facebook and email and little else. and, uh, kinda beside the point. but hey, don't let the actual point sidetrack you. you're on a roll! doesn't matter that you people seem, uh, a little slow to me, missing the point and all and getting all besides yourself over, well, i surely don't know. but sure, keep 'em coming. if nothing else it's amusing as all get out, especially the part where you people keep making my point while attacking it and don't even realize you're doing it. priceless.
        oneleft
      • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

        How are we making your point?

        We're pointing out that it's easy to change the search engine, something that you are ignoring. Oh, and the letter 'i' gets capitalized. The first words in sentences get capitalized.

        If you're going to insult the intelligence of others, you should at least get that right. Then again, you're trying to make the process of changing a search engine seem difficult. Obviously there isn't much to you, and you're just another pathetic troll.

        Go away, learn some basic grammar, maybe Google search how to change IE9's Search Engine (since you seem to have trouble with it), and come back.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • and again!

        @Michael Alan Goff <br>oh dear oh dear! michael michael. really. do get a grip. you should take a few minutes and read my original post. nothing, but nothing, was said about not being able to change the default search. was that so very hard to understand?<br><br>and, yet again, you make my point by trashing it. really, just too good, this stuff. that whole thing about me insulting the intelligence of others? those same others who couldn't grasp the not so difficult comparison to changing it in goodle vs ie? priceless.<br><br>and then, why, you attack me! there isn't much to me! what a retort! a wonderfully effective arguing point! it never fails, that lowest form of debate, the personal attack. well played laddie.

        really dear boy, if you're trying to insult me or anger me you will fail. it simply will not work. that's not to say you should stop trying. it is, after all, so very amusing.
        oneleft
  • the people are enraged over this

    EC has lost its way after being instigated against an innocent company by M$ and its cronies! The truth must prevail and M$ dirty deeds must be exposed!
    LlNUX Geek
  • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

    Linux Guru Advocate: I was with you until you implied that Google is innocent.

    Why do you believe that fairy tale?
    Swift2001
  • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

    do no evil?....well only as long as it doesn't hold them back from building a monopoly. I hope the DOJ in the US will follow. we need to split google up the way we should have microsoft. this time, let's not wait until it is too late.
    neonspark
    • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

      @neonspark

      Frankly, Google has been better behaved than Microsoft and Apple by far recently.
      Lerianis10
  • RE: Europe set to accuse Google of 'abuse of dominance'

    The problem for Google is that they have no other business model except to spy on their users in order to target advertising. Take away their spyware, which includes all their apps and services, and Google cannot survive.
    jorjitop