EU Launches Search and Advertising Antitrust Investigation Against Google
Update 2: Google has posted a response on its Public Policy Blog.
Update: FairSearch, the organization that was formed in opposition to Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA, sent us the following statement from Tom Barnett, counsel to Expedia (part of the FairSearch organization) and former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the US Justice Department:
"The European Commission’s announcement of a formal antitrust probe, looking into allegations that Google abuses its dominance in search to favor its own services and lower competitors’ search result rankings, underscores why the FairSearch.org coalition is urging the Justice Department to challenge Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software to protect consumers and competition in the online travel market."
Original Article: News is out this morning that Google is being investigated by European Union antitrust regulators. They are looking into the possibility that Google is discriminating against competitors in it search results and ads.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports: "The European Commission will check whether Google ‘imposes exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their websites, as well as on computer and software vendors, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools,’ it said in an e-mailed statement today."
The Commission also reportedly said it will investigate Quality Score manipulation allegations.
Google is quoted as saying that it’s strived to "do the right thing" by users and the industry, "But there’s always going to be room for improvement, and so we’ll be working with the commission to address any concerns."
Regulators could potentially fine the company up to 10 percent of revenue for monopoly abuses, according to reports. However, according to the New York Times, the European Commission said it does not have "proof of infringements."
Meanwhile, China is prepared to prosecute Google over maps. The Chinese government has indicated that it intends to take legal action against the company if it doesn’t seek and obtain a mapping license.
China wants to make sure all maps match its own official maps. Google has reportedly not applied for a license.
Google is also rumored to be trying to acquire Groupon, with the latest reported offer at $5.3 billion, which if accepted, would be Google’s largest acquisition to date.