Google Critics Group Calls On EU Antitrust Authorities To Take Strong Action
A group of 165 companies and industry associations have called on EU antitrust authorities to take a tougher stance against Google, saying the U.S. tech giant is unfairly prioritizing its own services when searching online.
The group includes companies from the USA and the UK, as well as companies from 21 EU countries. On Thursday, they sent a joint letter to the head of EU antitrust law Margrethe Vestager (Margrethe Vestager), which said that Google provides preferential placement in search results with its own services, and call for urgent action in order to stop this practice.
Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, denied claims that she unfairly supports their own services.
«People expect Google to provide them with the most relevant, high-quality search results they can trust.», – said a Google spokesman.
«They don’t expect us to prioritize certain companies or commercial competitors over others, or stop launching useful services that create more choice and competition for Europeans.».
Vestager has imposed fines on Google over the past three years totaling 8.25 billion euros ($ 9.7 billion) for the abuse of market advantages in favor of the shopping comparison service, the Android mobile operating system and the advertising business.
A 165-member group that claims to be the largest group to ever approach antitrust officials in the EU with a call to action, includes 135 companies offering online services as well as 30 industry associations.
The signatories included long-standing Google critics Yelp, Expedia, Trivago, Kelkoo, Stepstone and Foundem, whose complaint prompted an EU investigation against Google Shopping. .
The European Commission said it has received the letter and will respond in due course. She added that she is closely monitoring the market to assess the effectiveness of the remedies offered for Google Shopping..
«While we compete for the best customer experience, there is one common competitor that does not compete fairly – Google», – the letter says.
«Google has taken an unjustified advantage by favoring its own services on its general search results pages, displaying various forms of grouped specialized search results (called OneBox)», – follows from the letter.
In OneBox, information and images are highlighted in fields at the top of search results, and is often a way for local businesses to increase visibility..
For example, when searching for local vacancies, a box might appear suggesting a Google job search service, or a box might appear in flight search results that suggests a Google flight search service..
«Through this exclusive use of OneBoxes, Google artificially keeps users within its services and prevents them from visiting competing, more relevant services.», – the letter says.
The group stated that «Digital Markets Law» (Digital Markets Act), new EU technology rules that are in the pipeline to prevent dominant online platforms from opting for their own services, will take too long to come into effect. They urged the European Commissioner to act quickly to ensure that Google treats its competitors equally in search results..
«Many of us may not have the strength and resources to wait for such regulation to actually take effect.», – they said.
December 2 Margrethe Vestager must announce a bill that would require the participation of EU countries and the European Parliament before it becomes legislation in a process that could take a year or more. It’s unclear how the new rules will affect the presentation of Google search results..