The European commission has filed a third antitrust charge against Google, this time against its AdSense advertising business.
The EU regulator accuses Alphabet’s Google of abusing its dominance in search to benefit its own advertising business, which has historically been the company’s main revenue stream. The EC also reinforced its existing charge against Google’s shopping service, which the regulator says receives preferential treatment in search results.
European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.
“We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third-party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation,” Vestager said.
The commission said it had sent two “statements of objections” to Google and given its parent company, Alphabet, 10 weeks to respond. Google faces fines up to 10% of its global turnover for each case if found guilty of beaching the bloc’s antitrust rules.
Vestager also said the commission’s preliminary probe into Google Shopping has revealed that Google has “unduly favored its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages”, meaning that “consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries.
“If our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets,” Vestager said.
A Google spokesperson said: “We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We’ll examine the commission’s renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks.”
The EU’s concerns around Google’s adverts relate to the company’s AdSense for Search platform, in which Google acts as an intermediary for websites such as those of online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers, with searches producing results that include search ads.
Google’s AdWords and AdSense programs, which formed the bulk of Google’s $75bn (£56bn) in revenue last year, have been on the EC’s radar since 2010, after rivals complained about unfair advertising exclusivity clauses and undue restrictions on other advertisers.
The EU’s executive branch is already investigating whether Google gives preferential treatment to its own products, including Google Search and Chrome, in its Android operating system. Device manufacturers are obliged to place Google Search and Chrome on the primary home screen of Android devices, as well as other Google apps, if they want to provide access to the Google Play Store - the single largest source of third-party Android apps.
The company is also facing complaints against its image search from Getty Images.
Read Article (name | domain | 03/11/2016)
In the digital era, there is a significant difference between Europe and the US when it comes to individual privacy. Europe maintains individual privacy as primary whereas the US, unfortunately, views businesses as primary in this regard. The result is that US tech companies must conduct business in Europe much differently, or face penalties.
The European commission, though lobbied and charmed, has maintained their position on privacy. To continue business in Europe, US tech companies must comply with their rules and policies or be fined and removed, simple as that.
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