EU probing Google after several complaints of unfair play

By on February 24, 2010, 3:58 PM
The European Commission has launched an investigation against Google after receiving complaints of unfair trade practices from three European Internet companies -- Ciao! from Bing, UK price comparison site Foundem, and French legal search engine ejustice.fr. The firms believe they are not being ranked fairly in Google's search results. Foundem claims to have been snubbed by "search penalties" that are often deployed against spam or sites caught attempting to cheat Google's algorithms.

In a blog post yesterday, Google denied wrongdoing and provided a few background details about the complaints. The search giant said that while each company raises slightly different issues, they ultimately question whether Google is unfairly choking off competition. Google says it isn't. "We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users' interests first and compete fair and square in the market."

Google also noted that one of the companies -- Ciao! from Bing -- is owned by Microsoft, and Foundem is a member of ICOMP, an organization that receives funding from Redmond. Microsoft's involvement is ironic, considering the number of European antitrust investigations aimed at the company over the years. The current probe against Google is only preliminary, and nothing may come of it -- but the EC has a knack for slapping technology companies with massive fines.




User Comments: 9

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poundsmack said:

I don't know if anything will be found worth finding, but it is good to have these kind of probing investigation every now and then to make sure that things are in fact on the level. With google going into every industry it can (search, adds, video, email, energy sales, books, mobile OS, web broswers, ISP, office, becoming a verb, etc...), it is worth checking to make sure they are playing fair.

if google wanted too, they have enough money to buy up their competition in virtually any "emerging" market oportunity situation (i say emerging because, even though they could buy out other established players it waoul raise anti trust concerns, while emerging markets and tech does not, in most cases). Google can leverage their brand recognition and all the cash they have to do pretty much anything, and with all their recent aquisitions it only makes sense to get the Willy Wonka style tour to make sure its legit.

all in all (personal bias aside) I am assuming the investigation will go well and google will be in the clear. Just glad it's happening.

tengeta tengeta said:

By percentage, particularly in The U.S. Google see's better market percentages than Microsoft ever has. Then again, they don't crush opponents... At least not as obviously.

poundsmack said:

oh ya they do.

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if you compare year by year google does just as many take overs.

Guest said:

So what? It is a BUSINESS??

JDoors JDoors said:

I think we've all wondered at one point or another why Microsoft has had to bear the brunt of EU witch-hunts, maybe Microsoft finally figured out how to bring everyone else to the attention of the torch-bearing mobs?

"Hey, ya know, we're not the only big company dominating a market over here ..."

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

EU's probings aside, as a student of business I strongly believe no business (whether its Microsoft or Google or Intel or many other like them) should be allowed to grow so big that it gains such advantageous position to crush any sense of (fair) competition, resulting in less available choices for users & slow progression of innovative ideas/new innovations at reasonably affordable prices.

Hence, I wouldn't want Google to become such a behemoth that it stifles out everyone else from the market place.

On the side note, (I don't want to begin a debate about 'economic freedom or capitalism etc); but I do believe that despite all its brilliance, unchecked and unregulated economic freedom has now become associated with economic disorder of the 21st century. No wonder, many European and Asian countries want to create a basket of currencies instead of relying on one currency for just about this same logic.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

First the Euro's are upset with Microsoft for pretty much everything. Now they're upset with Google.

Memo to the European Consortium: Go develop your own operating systems, search engines, software and browsers and stop whining about everything coming out of America that is being shared with you. If you don't like our products then go develop your own. Just quit whining!

Guest said:

DarkCobra please don't confuse the morons at the European Commission with the rest of us that live here.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

You're right . . . that's why the memo is to the European Consortium.

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