Yelp decided its voice wasn’t loud enough in the never-ending European Google antitrust case, so it has decided to be an official complainant, and oppose the EU’s proposed settlement.
Yelp has been a vocal opponent of Google’s business practices in the past, but its presence hasn’t been felt too much in the discussion around what’s happening in Europe, until now.
Yelp’s formal complaint was filed last month, after CEO Jeremy Stoppelman sent a letter to European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso. GigaOm shares the letter in full. Here’s the relevant snippet:
As you may know, in 2011, I responded to a request to testify before the United States Senate on the issue of Google’s dominance in search. My message: it would not be possible to create Yelp in today’s environment where Google leverages its dominance in one business vertical (general search) to erode consumer welfare and foreclose competitors in other business verticals (local search).
Upon reflecting on our discussion about the European Digital Agenda, and my company’s historic role as a concerned observer of Google’s anticompetitive actions, I realized Yelp’s current status as a mere witness within the DG-COMP deliberations was inadequate; in order to truly advocate on behalf of European digital startups, our voice needed to be granted some form of official standing. As such, I have directed our government affairs team to convert Yelp into an official complainant in DG-COMP’s Google proceedings.
I truly fear the landscape for innovation in Europe is infertile, and this is a direct result of the abuses Google has undertaken with its dominant position. While I laud the important work of your office and Vice-President Kroes in ensuring Europe is able to tap into the economic opportunity that the Internet industry is unleashing, it is my strong belief that such potential cannot be realized unless every possible step is taken to prevent abuse by dominant firms.
FairSearch, a group of Google competitors (including Microsoft), has been very vocal about opposing the proposed settlement. You can read more about their complaints here.
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