EU Drops The Antitrust Hammer: Google ‘You’ve Been A Naughty Boy’

googleThe European Union files antitrust charges against Google over search engine services and opens Android probe.

The European Commission gives Google a serious slap on the wrist for violating antitrust laws and abusing its position as the largest search engine.

The EU has long had a rough relationship with Google, and formally charged Google with antitrust today.

“I’m concerned that Google has artificially boosted its presence in the comparison shopping market with the result that consumers might not see what is most relevant for them, and that competitors may not get the promotion that their services deserve,” EU competition commissioner  Margrethe Vestager said.

“I have also launched a formal antitrust investigation of Google’s conduct concerning mobile operating systems, apps and services. Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many people’s daily lives and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompetitive constraints imposed by any company,” the commissioner added.

Google has not released an official statement about the antitrust charges as of reporting.

Prior to the formal charges, Google has issued an internal memo to Google employees suggesting that the company has a very strong case against any accusations.

“We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition,” said an internal memo from Google. “All told, consumers have a lot of choice – and they are exercising it. And many, many other companies have very successful mobile businesses – including Apple, the most valuable (mobile) company in the world.”

Despite Google deeming it to be a strong case, there is certainly a reason to suspect the company of search bias. Google controls over 90 percent of all search in Europe, even more than it does in America. Because of this, it would be very easy for Google to unfairly promote its own services. This is a problem, especially in Europe.

“If you are dominant in Europe, you are not allowed to tie and bundle your other services to that dominant business to the detriment of your competitors,” said Michael Weber, director at, an online mapping company. “But that’s exactly what Google’s doing.”

Margrethe Vestager, a politician from Denmark who is the European Union’s top antitrust official, will be traveling to Washington later this week in order to attend antitrust conferences and meet senior justice officials. Vestager will then make the decision on the steps that the EU will take against Google going forward.

If Google is unable to stand against the commission in court, it could face a fine of over $6 billion and could be ordered to completely restructure its European business.

In the past, the commission reportedly considered breaking Google up into multiple companies, but this is unlikely to happen in this case.



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