19 Nov Google accused of unfair competition. What punishment will be given by EU?
An alliance of 135 companies and 30 industry associations have denounced unfair competition and are calling for strong action from the European Union against the American giant Google. The accusations are based on Google’s favoring of its own services in its search engine results.
The group put down the largest-ever letter to Margrete Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, to persuade further actions – Google enjoys unjustified advantages by treating its own services preferentially in its general search results pages, which display various forms of specialized and grouped search results. It refers to the segments displayed by Google at the top of the page encouraging its own services. Giving an example of Google Flights for an airplane search, the alliance believes these kinds of actions keep users within its ecosystem, and prevent them from exploring further offers.
The letter was triggered and signed by executives of Yelp, Expedia, Trivago, Kelkoo, Stepstone and Foundem.
Google, on the contrary, hasn’t lost its temper and a representative explained the situation as
People expect Google to give them the most relevant, high quality search results that they can trust. They do not expect us to preference specific companies or commercial rivals over others, or to stop launching helpful services which create more choice and competition for Europeans.
The letter has been well-received by the European Commision, which has stated that a response will be given shortly. It’s not the first time that EU representatives want to fight Google. During the past three years, Margrate Vestager has levied fines totalling 8.25 billion euros for abusing its market power.