The FairSearch Coalition, initially made up of travel sites who sought to get Google’s deal with ITA Software blocked by regulators last year, continues to grow, despite Google’s apparently strengthening argument against those who find its business anti-competitive.
New to the group are Oracle, Nokia and Allegro Group. FairSearch today shared a statement from EU Counsel Thomas Vinje, saying:
The FairSearch coalition welcomes the Allegro Group (based in Poland), Nokia (based in Finland), and Oracle (based in California) as new members. Their addition is emblematic of the global scope of Google’s anti-competitive search and business practices, which harm consumers by curbing innovation and choice, not just in Web services, but also in mobile, and any platform where Google abuses its dominant position.
The global footprint of FairSearch’s membership is consistent with investigations by U.S., European Commission, and other authorities of Google’s abuse of its dominant position. Any effective and permanent end to Google’s anti-competitive practices must be applied globally, be legally binding, and come with strong mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and enforcement to prevent the search giant from restoring its abusive practices. As long as competition is threatened anywhere, as in Eastern Europe, where the Allegro Group operates in more than 15 countries, consumers and innovators will continue to lose out everywhere.
Vinje counts all three of these new members as clients.
FairSearch has been getting quite a bit of criticism of its own lately. Search industry vet Danny Sullivan blasted the group last week after some apparently misleading comments made at an event it held.
Omri Shabat at Working Home Guide says, “FairSearch.org is everything but fair about search,” talking about several strategic moves by the group, and concluding, “To summarize, it looks like FairSearch has almost nothing with fairness, reliability or protecting the consumers’ best interests. It also seems that its only objective is to ram Google on every opportunity it has while pretending to be unbiased and only serving the group members’ self-interests.”
It’s worth noting that Expedia, a member of FairSearch has, itself, been accused of violating antitrust laws, and Microsoft, another member, was the subject of one one of the most famous antitrust cases in history.
Oracle, of course, just lost a lengthy legal battle of its own with Google (though the company will appeal).