Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
EU Advertising Android Google Government

European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation 96

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this year, European Commission regulators finally agreed to a settlement in the organization's long-running antitrust investigation of Google's search and advertising business. Unfortunately for Google, it didn't stick. The EC said today they're reopening the investigation after a large number of "very negative" complaints about the settlement. "The key objection to the proposed settlement, which would have allowed rival services to buy spaces at the top of search results pages, was that it would not prevent Google from favoring its own services, and would divert money from the rivals to Google even if they received clickthroughs from the adverts — rather than the zero-cost solution if they were ranked highly in 'organic' search results, and Google was prevented from putting its own commercial services above those." The Commission is also looking into other parts of Google's business, including its influence over mobile devices through Android.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

Comments Filter:
  • Again? (Score:2, Informative)

    If Google's rivals are being unfairly treated by Google's search results, then they should make their own search engines that are fair. Yes, I understand Google has an advantage by having a head start, but that hasn't stopped for example Facebook from overthrowing MySpace for social networking. A rival company with a better idea or better results could challenge or even defeat Google without getting even more government involvement in the internet. People voluntarily choose to use Google, at least on deskt
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bloodhawk ( 813939 )

      google doesn't just have a head start, they have a monopoly position, once you are a monopoly the rules of fairness change and it isn't enough to simply say someone can start their own business.

      • by Cenan ( 1892902 )

        Redundant comment in support of parent posts viewpoint. Moving on.

      • by u38cg ( 607297 )
        Yes, but unlike traditional monopoly, there's no cost of switching and no cost of entry. If you are the only person selling burgers in the world, you can bully your suppliers not to sell to anyone else, you can price your competition out of business, you can buy up sites and not use.

        None of those things apply on the internet. If I found another search engine that worked better than Google, I'd switch tomorrow. So far, no dice.

        • Re:Again? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2014 @06:30AM (#47860349) Journal

          The trouble is in this instance, is that the people who have the decision making power (you, in this instance) aren't the same as the people who are being abused (the provider of the thing you're searching for). To say that it's okay because you have the power to change what you do, doesn't change the fact that you won't change because you're not the one being screwed.

          • I do not see these other people as having a right to have their stuff shoved in front of my face to the exclusion of Google.

            They can pay for ad space, maybe Google puts Google ads up there, too. Otherwise fight for page rankings like everyone else.

            If Google is claiming fair rankings and bitchslapping competitors down in the normal (not paid) search results, that's fraud.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "no cost of entry"

          Google is the only entity in the world that has the history of the web stored. Without this history, proper search result ranking is next to impossible.

          The "cost of entry" is astronomical.

          • by u38cg ( 607297 )
            Rubbish. What does a web page from ten years ago have to do with what I'm searching for now?
          • The "cost of entry" is astronomical.

            I think what u38cg meant was that there's no cost to a person using the search-engine, to switch search-engine.

            Of course it costs millions to start your own search-engine.

            Google is the only entity in the world that has the history of the web stored

            Wrong. [archive.org]

            • by u38cg ( 607297 )
              I was talking about the user, but actually, the startup cost of a new search engine is pretty low. There is very little cost to running your own web spider, basically a few bucks [semantics3.com] a day for several million pages. Of course you have to buy the expertise to run and tune it but in startup terms these are not exactly ridiculous. Google obviously has a depth of expertise that would be difficult to match but I don't think it's impossible to compete with them if you're sufficiently determined.
              • Google obviously has a depth of expertise that would be difficult to match but I don't think it's impossible to compete with them if you're sufficiently determined.

                This isn't hypothetical: see Bing, and Baidu.

                According to Bing, Bing is at least as good as Google in blind-tests. Whether that's really true, I don't know. I admit I don't use Bing - the reason is that unless Bing is really better than Google, why switch? That said, it costs me nothing to switch. Maybe it's just a matter of 'trust'.

        • Not sure if I support the EU here (don't know enough about the details).

          But this doesn't apply to you using Google to search or your ability to create a new search engine or switch search engines.

          Google is the dominant search engine. The complaint is about how Google leverages it "monopoly" in search to position itself more favorably against other people/companies search results. e.g. Let's say Google sold watches, and always listed it's watches more favorably over other companies who sold watches. It would

        • There is a massive cost of entry and a massive cost of switching, we aren't talking about web users who can switch search engines, we are talking about businesses that need to advertise their services, switching to another service means they don't get the exposure and advertising they need to survive as google has a monopoly on the advertising industry, building your own service would cost billions as you need to gain a foothold to make your advertising have some value, to do so would likely cost 10's of bi

    • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday September 09, 2014 @08:21AM (#47860739)

      "the simple truth is Google is the best. "

      That's some time ago. Nowadays I have to enclose every fucking word between quotes or it is ignored.

      I want them to show me what I typed, not what they think I might mean.

      I really do have "mangy boils", no I did not mean to purchase "angry oils".

    • The problem with that sentiment is that Google's rivals aren't other search engines. Their rivals are any business whose model Google finds favorable, then copies copies, and then promotes it using its own search engine. For example, let's say you want to fly to Toronto from NYC. If you google "nyc to toronto", one of the first and biggest search results is from Google Flights showing you a wide range of flights and prices. In this case, Google's rivals are Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Same thing goe
      • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2014 @10:05AM (#47861507)

        No matter what one thinks of Yelp, they were one of the first few place review services around. Then Google tried to buy them and, when that failed, copied their business model and turned it into Google Places which held top place in any location search.

        I'm failing to see the problem. That is how competition is supposed to work: doing something better than someone else.

        Did Google threaten anyone, or did Google just provided a better service/experience?

        Did Google conspire with other companies to put Yelp out of business?

        Did Google somehow leverage a monopoly position in search to gain a monopoly position in reviewing stuff?

        As far as I know, Google is just a better competitor.

        • I'm failing to see the problem. That is how competition is supposed to work: doing something better than someone else.

          Except that Google Places was not better. Google utilized its (well-deserved) virtual monopoly in search to promote its own service above everyone else. Plus the services was integrated into Google Maps. Even then it took at least a year before they got everything working right.

          Did Google threaten anyone, or did Google just provided a better service/experience?

          I doubt they threatened anyone. They did *not*, however, provide a better experience. In fact, their review services were pretty unreliable which is one of the main reasons why they bought Zagat. They've been using their search monop

    • My bet is that it's the same people complaining - you know, those Microsoft Partners that are getting kick backs for causing trouble for Google.

      I wonder how long it will be before EU investigates Microsoft over that...
  • why not get it from Teh Goog!e

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Give us your Geld, Amerika, or we'll gas ihre Juden. Verstanden, ja?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They will keep setting demands that are dammed if you do, damned if you don't. Then they will shift the goalposts. Google is screwed. The EU is butthurt that no European based tech company has anything even close to a viable competing product. Their old blue chip technology company, Nokia is in ruins. The EU in retribution wants a continuous supply of money from Google into their coffers. Its trade protectionism, pure and simple.

    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2014 @06:46AM (#47860401)

      This stuff goes both ways. New York State has become notorious for trumping up charges against financial companies and draining mind-boggling sums of money directly into their own accounts. Governments are waking up to the fact that they've passed so many vague laws that basically any company can be "investigated" for breaching them, and given those governments are all heavily in debt and trying to cut back spending the temptation to go whack some foreign company and extract money from it is overwhelming. Compared to taxing their own citizens this seems like free money, plus they get to tell themselves and others that they're fighting the good fight against the evil corporations.

      When you dig into the details, that's when this story unravels. But most people never do.

      • Yeah a court case that costs millions to bring, drags on for at least five years and may end up with the corporation winning and the government winding up with the legal bill is the best way to bring in revenue [/sarcasm].

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah a court case that costs millions to bring, drags on for at least five years and may end up with the corporation winning and the government winding up with the legal bill is the best way to bring in revenue [/sarcasm].

          When the fines can reach BILLIONS, it means a 100x profit even if it cost the state 10 million, which means if they win 2 out of 100 times, the state nets profit from it, all the while giving work to do for a whole bunch of people.

          Yes, it is a great way to bring in revenue, as long as you pick some big rich company that did not hire too many people locally -- thus foreign companies with local presence but not too tied into local business network is the best.

          So you see the US investigating and fining foreign

        • The people deciding to bring the suit get paid either way. In fact, the existence of the suit is more "work" which therefore justifies a larger budget for their department (whether they win or lose).

          The only way to fix it would be for the people in charge of the budget to withhold funding for frivolous lawsuits, but A) they don't really care anyway, B) separation of powers means they might not have the authority to decide which lawsuits are frivolous, and C) if they cut the prosecutors' budget they'd look "

        • These things rarely if ever go to court. Sometimes there's simply no relevance because the regulators have the power to fine companies without winning a court case, and sometimes (like with NY DFS) the laws involved have such insanely high criminal penalties attached - like 20 year jail sentences - you'd have to be crazy to roll the dice instead of just paying up.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      EU is not a country. Nokia is not a EU company, it's a company in Finland. Finland is a EU member. Nokias taxes went to Finland, not EU. Nokia had nothing to do with searches and ads, so how is that a competing product? Also, that money from google is peanuts to the whole EU cash flow.

    • If the money isn't flowing, then the market isn't free. Any private entreprise, be it Google are whoever, that diverts money to itself is anti-free market.

  • ...ever offering up better search results that didn't include Google results.

  • The EU's business model approach is a LOT like that of Tony Soprano. And they will not go away until the EU owns a large minority stake in Google.

  • If only they would put the bank tellers to the same scrutiny...

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt. -- Henry J. Kaiser

Working...