EU Commission Accuses Google of Breaching Antitrust Rules  

EU | April 15, 2015, Wednesday // 15:53|  views

EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager gives a news conference in Brussels,15 April 2015, after the Commission accused Google of abusing its dominant market position for general search services in the European Economic Area. EPA/BGNES

The European Commission said on Wednesday it has opened antitrust proceedings against Google over what it alleged was abuse of a dominant position.

The Commission said in a statement it has sent a statement of objections to Google on the company’s comparison shopping service and has also opened a separate antitrust investigation into Google's conduct as regards the mobile operating system Android.

Google has allegedly abused its dominant market position for general search services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping service product in its search results. 

“The Commission is concerned that users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to queries – to the detriment of consumers and rival comparison shopping services, as well as stifling innovation,” according to the statement.

The statement of objections alleges that Google treats and has treated more favourably, in its general search results pages, Google's own comparison shopping service "Google Shopping" and its predecessor service "Google Product Search" compared to rival comparison shopping services.

The statement of objections takes the preliminary view that in order to remedy the conduct, Google should treat its own comparison shopping service and those of rivals in the same way.

This would not interfere with either the algorithms Google applies or how it designs its search results pages. It would, however, mean that when Google shows comparison shopping services in response to a user's query, the most relevant service or services would be selected to appear in Google's search results pages.

Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

The separate investigation regarding Android will focus on whether Google has entered into anti-competitive agreements or abused a possible dominant position in the field of operating systems, applications and services for smart mobile devices, the European Commission said.

“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," EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said.


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Tags: European Commission, Google, Android, antitrust, mobile devices, search results, shopping services, european economic area


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