Google’s EU search antitrust case is a complex beast that is being overloaded by vested interests. Competition commission Margrethe Vestager would be best advised to keep her solutions simple, and here are some suggestions for what those solutions might entail.
The Parliament is, according to the Financial Times, poised to call on the European Commission to separate Google’s core search business from its other businesses or take some other serious measure to tackle the firm’s dominance in the EU.
It’s not just European press publishing houses that have been calling for the European Commission to reject Google’s antitrust settlement proposals: on Wednesday the mighty News Corp revealed that it too had sent a lengthy letter to outgoing competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia, congratulating him for putting off a settlement. CEO Robert Thomson described Google as a “vast, powerful, often unaccountable bureaucracy” and claimed that its dominance in tracking users for lucrative ad targeting limits the ability of publishers to make good money by, er, doing the same. Anyhow, the letter may be addressed to Almunia but it’s really for the attention of his successor, Margrethe Vestager, who will take over the case in November.
As expected, Google’s big European Union search antitrust case won’t be wrapped up by the end of October and will be passed to the next competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager. According to IDG, current antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia has conceded that he won’t be able to close the four-year-old case by the end of his tenure, after scores of companies complained about the ineffectiveness of Google’s proposed concessions. Meanwhile, Europe’s incoming digital economy chief, Günther Oettinger, has already made vague noises about limiting Google’s power, mere hours after his appointment was announced. Sounds like this will run into 2015.
The new-look European Commission was unveiled on Wednesday. They still need final approval, but you should probably get used to hearing about Andrus Ansip, Günther Oettinger, Margrethe Vestager and V?ra Jourová.
The publishers have big issues not only with Google’s proposals for giving greater prominence to results from rival portals — a space in which many of them play these days — but also with its proposals regarding content-scraping.
Google’s antitrust problems in Europe appeared to be winding down, but now a new investigation into its mobile phone software suggests they’re just getting started.
When Yelp(s yelp) and the European Consumer Organisation joined the 4-year-old EU antitrust case against Google(s goog), it became pretty clear that competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia would not get his wish of settling the case before his departure later this year. And lo, it comes to pass: According to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is now planning to reopen its settlement arrangements with Google for an unprecedented fourth round of revisions. A Wednesday letter from original complainant Foundem expressed clear dissatisfaction with existing settlement proposals, and it seems the NSA mess is providing political pressure as well.
Competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia was already facing resistance in his quest to wrap up the long-running Google antitrust case, but Yelp’s new front-and-center involvement will almost certainly see the case continue.
The Lisbon-based Independent app distribution firm Aptoide has complained to EU regulators about Google’s alleged unfair tactics against third-party app stores.