Google on Europe: 'We don't always get it right'

Google’s European chief publicly admitted that the company has issues when it comes to operating in the EU.

Google hasn’t had the easiest time with the EU, its officials and its seemingly stringent rules over competition and a fair playing field in the markets. In fact, the US-based search giant is currently under multiple investigations, and is being accused of using its market position to gain unfair advantages.

In an interview with Politico, Matt Brittin, Google’s chief in Europe, admitted that the company has failed when it comes to dealing with EU. The search giant supposedly failed to comprehensively explain its vision and its products in countries like Germany, France and Spain. Brittin said:

We don’t always get it right. As far as Europe is concerned: we get it. We understand that people here are not the same in their attitudes to everything as people in America. We just didn’t have the people on the ground to be able to have some of those conversations as we grew.

That’s not to say Brittin agreed with any of the charges that the European Commission is currently throwing at Google. He dismissed those out of hand, while painting the Commission as an archaic bureaucratic system that’s out of the touch with the modern internet and markets.

His central point, one that Google has often expressed publicly, is that despite Google’s incredible dominance over search in Europe, the internet has changed profoundly. Users no longer rely on browsers and Google, but instead use apps on mobile phones. The reasoning goes that Google couldn’t have abused its dominance over the internet because, in fact, it’s no longer dominating the internet.

Perhaps a fair point in some situations, but the argument loses its potency when Google is also the one behind the vast majority of smartphones in Europe. An issue that hasn’t eluded the Commission, which is also investigating Android’s dominance.

Finally, Google expects to settle with the Commission, despite previous setbacks. Unfortunately for the company, judging by the last three failed attempts, that might now be possible.

Source: Politico EU | EU flags image courtesy of Shutterstock

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