Google Could Face Massive Fine Over Antitrust Complaint in Europe

European Commission reportedly set to issue 400-page complaint document

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Google Could Face Massive Fine Over Antitrust Complaint in Europe
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Google may face a fine “up to 10% of its annual turnover” if a report from dealReporter, published by Financial Times is accurate.

That is, reportedly, if Google can’t settle with the European Commission in an antitrust investigation stemming from complaints initially made by search engines Ciao, Foundem and eJustice, but which also now include perspectives from 1plusV, VfT, Elfvoetbal, Hotmaps, Interactive Labs, nnpt.it, dealdujour.pro, and of course Microsoft. Twenga is also expected to file a complaint.

The report indicates, based on “sources close to the case,” that the EC will issue a 400-page statement of objections covering the allegations of Google’s “abuse of dominance”.

Yes, 400 pages.

Google Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, the report says, is expected to meet with Commissioner Joaquín Almunia to discuss Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility,which raises a whole other slew of questions about Google’s competitive practices outside of the search industry (though there is certainly plenty of crossover).

Google has of course faced plenty of scrutiny here in the states regarding its competitive practices. That includes hearings with the Senate Antitrust Committee and scrutiny from the DoJ and FTC.

In June, the company put out a blog post discussing five principles that “will stand up” to scrutiny related to competition. The post was in response to the FTC, but the points summarize Google’s general view of the topic:

  • Do what’s best for the user. We make hundreds of changes to our algorithms every year to improve your search experience. Not every website can come out at the top of the page, or even appear on the first page of our search results.
  • Provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible. Today, when you type “weather in Chicago” or “how many feet in a mile” into our search box, you get the answers directly—often before you hit “enter”. And we’re always trying to figure out new ways to answer even more complicated questions just as clearly and quickly. Advertisements offer useful information, too, which is why we also work hard to ensure that our ads are relevant to you.
  • Label advertisements clearly. Google always distinguishes advertisements from our organic search results. As we experiment with new ad formats and new types of content, we will continue to be transparent about what is an ad and what isn’t.
  • Loyalty, not lock-in. We firmly believe you control your data, so we have a team of engineers whose only goal is to help you take your information with you. We want you to stay with us because we’re innovating and making our products better—not because you’re locked in.

And of course, Google always like to play the “competition is only a click away” card.

Google Could Face Massive Fine Over Antitrust Complaint in Europe
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  • Good

    Love it how Chris and others didn’t mention this tiny fact: Panda increased Google’s revenue by 39%!!!!

    Why did that happen? More clicks? More money per click (barely), more users searching (hardly).

    So if Google had more clicks to their ads /links what does it mean, the SERP quality was so much better that people clicked on ads?

    I dare Chris to write about this, but he will not because Matt Cutts might like it.

  • Marian

    Sadlly Google brings its own properties in natural searches to “combat spam”. It is too much hard work to discount paid links and fight real spammers let’s bring some crap local results instead and does not matter people search or not for local. Ecommerce sites have to pay per click and only one spammer will be allowed at the top.

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