Europe accuses Google of unfair search practices, opens investigation into Android

By Scorpus
Apr 15, 2015
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  1. The European Commission has today officially accused Google of illegal monopolistic practices that breach European antitrust laws. The Commission believes that Google is abusing their dominant position in the search market by prioritizing their comparative shopping pages, shown at the top of many search results, over similar services from competitors.

    In a statement from Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commissioner for competition policy, she says that "Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary." If Google cannot convince the Commission, and the company is therefore found guilty, they will be forced to modify their search engine for Europeans and will face a hefty fine.

    Google has already come out in defense of their market position via their official blog, stating that the traffic for Google's shopping and travel services is well behind that of its competitors. The company believes that despite showing their shopping pages at the top of search results, there is "more choice than ever before" with "thriving competition online".

    Meanwhile, the European Commission has also announced a new antitrust investigation that will look in to Android as well as Google's mobile apps and services. The Commission will investigate whether Google has hindered the development and access of rival mobile apps by forcing OEMs into exclusively installing Google apps.

    The Commission will also look in to whether Google has prevented manufacturers from creating forked versions of Android, and whether Google apps and services on Android devices have been bundled with other Google apps, APIs and services.

    Google has also come out in defense of Android, stating that the OS is open source and can be used by anyone; that alternatives to Google apps are easily available through the store and compatible with all types of Android devices; and that many competing apps are already being pre-loaded on Android devices.

    The company also highlights that "there are far fewer Google apps pre-installed on Android phones than Apple apps on iOS devices", effectively questioning why Apple isn't coming under fire for a similar practice.

    The conclusion to both antitrust investigations is still a long way away, so strap yourself in for years of Google and the European Commission battling it out.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Steffen Jobbs

    Steffen Jobbs TS Rookie

    That's OK. Supposedly, Google does no evil so it doesn't have anything to worry about. All Google needs to do is drag this accusation out in court for years and meanwhile find the right people in the EU to bribe and eventually dismiss the case. Google's monopolistic practices is what makes Google so valuable to Wall Street investors. Major market share means major control to shut out all other competition. That's what makes Google Wall Street's darling. There's no way Google will be paying billions of dollars in fines, so the EU might as well give up that idea. Apple isn't coming under fire for putting its own apps on devices because iPhone market share is relatively low compared to Google Android's massive market share.

    Watch Google's share price rise while under investigation as Wall Street investors laugh this off. They know Google is untouchable or at least that's what they believe.
  3. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,159   +198

    I live in the uk and see no evidence of google fixing the search results in their favor.

    Upon searching for several generic terms such as shopping, social networking, news and a few others, Google services are never at the top of the results.

    Using chrome browser and google .com.
  4. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Guru Posts: 467   +97

    So I guess Europe will soon have Google linking other search engines on their page. Microsoft knows what you're dealing with.
  5. I am really confused on this one. Why isn't Google allowed to promote their own products on their website? Why shouldn't a company be able to promote itself within its own website? Also, I have found that google puts other sites well before their own (ex. Amazon, BestBuy, etc) in most cases. The fact that this can be brought to court just does not make sense to me.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I hate Google, but times like this I sympathize with them for the *****s they have to deal with. Google does not have to advertise for anyone that does not pay them for space. Google can prioritize their searches however they see fit. Anyone that doesn't like it can use a different search engine.

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