back to article Google 'dominance abuse' games may yet mean monster Euro smack

Google could still be slapped with massive fines if it is found by Brussels officials to have violated competition rules in Europe, the EC's antitrust chief has chillingly warned. Joaquin Almunia, speaking in New York on Thursday, said he was yet to be satisfied by the apparent concessions proposed by Google. He said: As to …


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  1. daiakuma
    Thumb Down

    Go away

    The EU's obsession with Google is getting ridiculous. Restoring competition? In search? When did competition go away? I have a web browser. I can type into the address bar any time I like. I don't often do it, for the simple reason that Google has some tools and features that I like better. Since when has having a better product counted as "anti-competitive practice"?

    As for Almunia, I do not remember ever voting for this Eurocrat to represent me, and I don't think what he is doing serves my interest as a web user one bit. Given the chance, I would vote him out in a moment.

    Please, go away with your pointless officious meddling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Go away

      You know those European elections? That's when you vote for MEPs, who then appoint "eurocrats". If you don't like the eurocrats, complain to your MEP.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Go away

      If you read the article, the complaint is not that Google dominate search. That wouldn't be an offence, merely the reward for producing a decent product. The complaint is that, having acquired dominance in the domain of general search, they are using that as a lever to push their way into more specialised search.

      That's "using one monopoly to acquire another", which is illegal in both the EU and US (as well as other places I don't doubt).

      It is illegal because (as the US learned at the end of the 19th century) if you don't make this illegal then it is straight-forward for the monopoly holder to bypass the rigours of the free-market and start delivering over-priced shit to everyone. That's not good for society as a whole and therefore society as a whole has decided to make it against society-as-a-whole's laws. Tough tit if you are disappointed by that, but society-as-a-whole has no obligation to make life easy for you, even if you are a talented monopolist.

      1. Gerhard Mack

        Re: Go away

        Th reality though, is that Google is doing exactly what their customers wanted when they started downgrading "vertical search engines".

        Do you have any idea how annoying it is to search for some product only to have the first page return a bunch of sites that only show links to other sites? To top it off some of the vertical search engines only showed filler pages because they didn't have any info on what I'm looking for.

        If I want to use another search I can (and sometimes do) go right ahead and use one rather than use Google but when using Google I'd rather not even see them.

      2. daiakuma

        Re: Go away

        Google don't have a monopoly in search, so it's logically impossible for them use a monopoly in search to acquire a monopoly in any other market, and even if it did have a monopoly, the implied claim that there "vertical search" is a distinct market from "search" is nonsense. The EU might as well argue that Microsoft Word is abusing its dominance by providing a bundled spell-checker, and thereby unfairly acquiring dominance in the spell-checker market.

        As for the idea that monopolies push prices up, it's very hypothetical. Even in the late 19th century, when this idea became fashionable, it was hypothetical. Standard Oil was popular with consumers because they drove the price of oil down. HIstorically, commercial "monopolies" (they never really are monopolies) in fast-evolving industries are unstable. Companies suddenly become very dominant in a market, rule the roost for a few years, and then equally suddenly lose their dominance, and sometimes even disappear, as innovation disrupts the market.

        The real driver of "anti-trust" and "anti-monopoly" actions is not an interest in the welfare of the customer, but the lobbying of also-rans who demand that Buggins should be given his turn at the trough. This was true in the 1890s, and it's true now.

  2. Crisp

    There are plenty of other search engines out there.

    Google is not the portal to the entire internet!

    1. a_been

      Re: There are plenty of other search engines out there.

      You are not Googles customer, it's not about you. If you wish to advertise you product via a serch engine then you use Google or 75%+ of you potential customers will never see your product. That's the monopoly part, which is not illegal, it's also the part where Google makes its GOLD (95%+ of profits).

      What seems to have happened here is that Google acted without thinking and went in with sleghammers looking for balls and that's always gona get noticed. No reason really for that except laziness or hubris. Now they and the EU are both up shit creek and neither knows how to get out. I can't see either side making a concession that they or a neutral third party would consider fair, so one side is gona get pissed on.

  3. dizzee

    Read for articles documenting Google's anticompetitive practices.

    And watch this video.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they funded by Mircosoft?

      Not saying they are... just I have noticed that most of the organisations whining to the EEC have MS connections...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google should tell Almunia to feck off

    Maybe the are playing it smart:

    Almunia is taking out of his arse as Google haven’t engaged in any behaviour that actionable. Hence him not taking formal action just bluffing.

    So Google play it crafty and instead of just telling him to fuck off, which would be *Oh So Satisfying* they just string him along :-)


    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Google should tell Almunia to feck off

      You may be right. AFAIK they've not actually done any investigation at all yet, just compiled that 400 page list of allegations, cherry picked a couple of them and asked for Google to bend over.

      But we have good reason to believe most (if not all) those 400 pages were submitted by a coalition of Googles less honest competitors, led by whatever the group of scumbag search hijackers are calling themselves (Fairsearch? can't be arsed looking it up) we all hate and backed my Microsoft.

      I doubt it will harm the eventually result if Google make them prove everything in court because it seems unlikely they'll manage to prove anything worthy of a painful fine or restraint. If they prove anything at all. Most likely outcome is pissing away millions on the process, then imposing face saving but empty restrictions. Google might as well just let them waste the time and money instead of volunteering more than the courts are likely to compel.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Google Code

    Renowned search engine Google staggered through the networks of Europe. A voice, chillingly close, said, "you are abusing your dominant position!"

    Google looked up, chilled, and saw the chilling silhouette of the EC's antitrust chief. The large company, 14, of California, desperately clutched at the nearest list of personal search histories in desperation. Suddenly, it slowly drew out an embarrassing preference for bestiality among MEPs from its pocket.

    "My mistake," said the Spanish chief, 64, "carry on."

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