EU rejects latest antitrust proposal from Google

Google will have to try again to settle accusations by the European Union's anti-trust agency that it has a monopoly on Internet search services if it wants to avoid receiving a major fine. Today, the leader of the European Commission, Joaquin Almunia, stated on a Spanish radio program that Google's latest proposal did not "eliminate our concerns regarding competition" in search.

The Associated Press reports that the commission felt Google's new offer did not settle issues on how the company deals with online review services other than its own Yelp brand, along with price comparison shopping services. However, Almunia did indicate the company still has a chance to come up with a solution, saying, "... the ball is still in Google's court. But within a short timeframe the ball will be here and then it will be the moment to take decisions."

In an emailed statement, Google spokesperson Al Verney said, "We've made significant changes to address the EC's concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues." However, there's no word if Google will offer yet another settlement deal. Almunia said that the commission's investigation would likely end in the spring of 2014; he would not rule out the possibility of slapping Google with a large fine.

Google's search services have over a 90 percent market share in Europe.  The company's latest concession to the EU would let competing businesses bid to have links to their services placed just below Google's own in search results. However, many companies, including Microsoft, have told the commission that would be too costly for them and would prefer Google offer search results that are completely impartial.

Source: Associated Press | Image via Google

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42 Comments

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Greetings from China - the world's biggest market and now, thankfully, a Google-free zone. FYI: the Internet becomes a better experience if and when you kick Google to the kerb as we have here. The vacuum they created was rapidly filled by local companies providing better services in a far more competitive environment.

It's shameful that Westerners need to learn about "freedom of choice" from Communist China.

Companies should be fined over and over, but not at regular predicted interval/timing nor at predictable 'pricing',
otherwise companies will simply moves the cost to consumers just like they did on Taxes.

This doesn't make much sense, using Google is a choice. If Google somehow blocked you from going to bing.com or yahoo.com then they would have a point, but that is not in their power. Even on android in chrome on a nexus 7, I can visit other search engines and specify a different default search engine.

The deals google has with other companies were also choices by those companies, they were not forced to enter into agreements with google.

I do agree though that page rankings should be objective.

Geezy said,

I do agree though that page rankings should be objective.

Those are most of the time manipulated by site owners themselves, but at least there is not one perfect way in how to practice SEO optimization.

Geezy said,
This doesn't make much sense, using Google is a choice. If Google somehow blocked you from going to bing.com or yahoo.com then they would have a point, but that is not in their power. Even on android in chrome on a nexus 7, I can visit other search engines and specify a different default search engine.

The deals google has with other companies were also choices by those companies, they were not forced to enter into agreements with google.

I do agree though that page rankings should be objective.


same thing could have been said about microsoft's internet explorer problem with the eu, but that didn't stop the eu from slapping a big fine on Microsoft.

Except Google's not a product that you can't uninstall which is bundled with a product that has a monopoly in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Geezy said,
Except Google's not a product that you can't uninstall which is bundled with a product that has a monopoly in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Yes, it is. You've just got it backward in which is the product with a monopoly, and which is the bundled product. The monopoly is on search and advertising.

Google is the operating system Windows in this analogy - the product with a monopoly, and the services provided are the product you can't uninstall that is bundled. It wouldn't be a problem if they weren't giving them preferential treatment, and definitely not a problem if they had less than 90% market share in the EU.

They leverage their dominance in the search market and the advertising space (Adsense, almost all websites) to get an unfair advantage in other markets.

It's textbook anticompetitive behavior.

lol they even copied that from MSFT. But seriously, this is just the show before the good show. the DOJ will soon come down on them, and we may just get what MSFT should have gotten: company split. good for consumers.

Microsoft, if you hadn't guessed but I'll give you a clue - people like me use Google for search not because we don't have 'choice' but but because the alternatives are so horrible. How about Microsoft actually fixing the Bing search results so what comes up with either equal or better results than Google and then I might consider switching.

If you want to beat Google then how about competing rather than whining to the EU or DOJ like how your competitors in the past went off to the EU and DOJ asking for restraints placed upon you.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
Microsoft, if you hadn't guessed but I'll give you a clue - people like me use Google for search not because we don't have 'choice' but but because the alternatives are so horrible. How about Microsoft actually fixing the Bing search results so what comes up with either equal or better results than Google and then I might consider switching.

If you want to beat Google then how about competing rather than whining to the EU or DOJ like how your competitors in the past went off to the EU and DOJ asking for restraints placed upon you.

I find Bing results to be equal or better almost 100% of the time.

spenser.d said,

I find Bing results to be equal or better almost 100% of the time.

Not for me

i searched for "oracle client c# parameter output" and bing gave me only 2 pages. While Google gave me 10 pages.

Brony said,

Not for me

i searched for "oracle client c# parameter output" and bing gave me only 2 pages. While Google gave me 10 pages.

Lies. Do it again.

I get 2,460,000 results on Bing, or only 533,000 on Google.

And this isn't about Microsoft's search engine. This is about other services that people are searching for on Google, and the preferential treatment Google services get. People expect unbiased search results. That's what they think their looking at. And it warps people's perceptions of reality. But this is only an issue because of their monopoly.

It's the clear definition of anticompetitive behavior... using their dominance in the search market to gain an unfair advantage in other unrelated markets.

spenser.d said,
I find Bing results to be equal or better almost 100% of the time.

IMHO, they're horrible. I just put in the following:

next version of office for mac

The first two links are to articles that are from 4 years ago - how on god's green earth is that remotely helpful to me? I put the same phrase into Google and the first articles are from this year talking about the possibility of a new version of Office being released sometime in the first half of 2014. Just really basic things like that Bing can't even get sorted out - honestly, it is pathetic.

rfirth said,
And this isn't about Microsoft's search engine. This is about other services that people are searching for on Google, and the preferential treatment Google services get. People expect unbiased search results. That's what they think their looking at. And it warps people's perceptions of reality. But this is only an issue because of their monopoly.

It's the clear definition of anticompetitive behavior... using their dominance in the search market to gain an unfair advantage in other unrelated markets.

I don't expect that - I expect that if I'm using Google that Google will use it as an opportunity to market other services that they offer as well. Sorry but that is no different than Microsoft offering Skype in conjunction with Microsoft Office or Apple offering iTunes with i-devices.

Brony said,

Not for me

i searched for "oracle client c# parameter output" and bing gave me only 2 pages. While Google gave me 10 pages.

the fact google amounts to a dot matrix printer of spam is hilarious

Really only the first page or two are good results. Then they start to degrade from there. If I cannot find what I am looking for on the first few pages, then I will refine my search. SO doesnt matter if Bing returns 20k results and Google returns 10k. Just as long as what you are looking for is on the first few pages, good to go.

Like all the different app stores...lots of apps are crap, and lots of search results are crap. Its being able to find what you need quickly/efficiently that will win over customers.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

IMHO, they're horrible. I just put in the following:

next version of office for mac

The first two links are to articles that are from 4 years ago

Nope. 8/2012 and 4/2013.

I find it hilarious that people keep complaining about Bing not working outside the US. Ever since I started using it, I just switch from Worldwide to US and done - never needed to google something since.

Gornot said,
I find it hilarious that people keep complaining about Bing not working outside the US. Ever since I started using it, I just switch from Worldwide to US and done - never needed to google something since.

http://i40.tinypic.com/155l1qv.jpg
Getting less results (42k), but all right on spot, even when it's not strictly set to US.
But your right, people need to learn to sign in with their MS account and set it up, something which is done automatically on Windows 8/8.1

Gornot said,
I find it hilarious that people keep complaining about Bing not working outside the US. Ever since I started using it, I just switch from Worldwide to US and done - never needed to google something since.

Problem is I want to do a lot of local searches in my native tongue... And when I query my searches into Google, even in English, it will sooner go to EU sources than American.

If I set Bing to US only, 60-70% of my searches become worthless. And the results I am already getting are often poor at best.

I'm keeping Bing to my own country and I've been seeing it slowly improve the last few years... versus Google which I've seen slowly getting worse (so many bogus search results and GO AWAY SOFTWAREINFORMER! pointless POS).. '

Bing, like Google needs to be 'trained'. Be used. When you've been using Google for years and then try Bing out a few times, yes it will suck. Because Google knows your way of searching and is familiar with that.

so to summarize, Bing sux outside of US.. while in US, it is more or less on par with Google. So, in a global world nowadays, Bing has a lot more to catch up with Google. There you go.

Google is just changing things little by little in hopes of appeasing the EU. They dont want to give up anything more than they need to. Which is crap since they should just make the necessarily change and call this case closed. They may not like the laws in the EU, but to operate there, you have to abide by them. Delay tactics like this will just get you fined more.

techbeck said,
Google is just changing things little by little in hopes of appeasing the EU. They dont want to give up anything more than they need to. Which is crap since they should just make the necessarily change and call this case closed. They may not like the laws in the EU, but to operate there, you have to abide by them. Delay tactics like this will just get you fined more.

All companies act this way. Microsoft did the same before it received its first fine.

thealexweb said,

All companies act this way. Microsoft did the same before it received its first fine.


Yeah but Google pulled in the EU commission on Microsoft for the goddamn browser ballot screen..... Now they get in trouble with the EU and they weasel their way out of it....

frigging hypocrites.

Microsoft got in trouble for the browser ballot but is lobbying really hard to try and get Google convicted. They are as bad as each other.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft got in trouble for the browser ballot but is lobbying really hard to try and get Google convicted. They are as bad as each other.

True, MS goes public with the Scroogled campaign of theirs I also don't support.

But MS wasn't crying when Google was doing their anti-IE campaigns.... they picked up their slack and gave us IE9-10 and 11.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft got in trouble for the browser ballot but is lobbying really hard to try and get Google convicted. They are as bad as each other.

all corporations are alike but google went to the creepy side for years now . things like project calico http://www.neowin.net/news/goo...t-to-help-extend-human-life
plus most of what they do is to track us better to sell more targeted ads. android is cool but is just a nice cover for what they have planned to do in the future.
Its not a conspiracy theory, its all true. they just purchase boston dynamics the human and animal like robot creators. what do they gonna do with those?

Google and Microsoft are run in different ways. Google acts like a startup still and wanders in to ventures that offer like prospect of success e.g. Calico. Microsoft is like IBM and focuses purely on money (with a few exceptions).

Since Android is open-source it can be forked at any time if Google did anything diabolical. Also Google is no creepier than say MS. Don't they have a patent to count the number of people in a room and not show a movie if there is too many over the movie's license?

I like what you said that we can fork android. I hope google won't dominate people's life by then that you simply cannot get away from google's android. for the movie watching thing as you said microsoft focused on money and I bet it has something todo with TV integration with kinect and XBOX so they can team up with cable company to get better movie and TV shows deal. I agree they all do creepy things but extending human life is way over the line, you must agree.