back to article We're great, you don't understand competition law, Google tells Europe

Google has sought to blunt the European Commission’s three-prong inquiry into its business practices – by claiming the Eurocrats don’t understand antitrust law. Writing on Google’s corporate blog, senior VP and general counsel Kent Walker disclosed that Google has responded to the Commission’s shopping and advertising concerns …

  1. James 51
    Devil

    Someone should tell Google that it's EU anti-trust rules that apply. Big hint for them, telling the people investigating you that metaphorically they are too stupid to tie their own shoe laces isn't going to pursade them to stop. Quite the opposite, unless of course it's a fight Google wants.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Came to post almost exactly the same thing. American business still seems to think the date in the EU is 1960 and it can do as it pleases.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yep - go see how well the "Nah Nah Nah I Can't Hear You" approach to EU law worked for Microsoft...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google results are trash

    Is it my imagination or are Google results actual trash these days. As in worse than 90s Altavista irrelevant.

    Page one looks rigged, and beyond page one is the long tail of absolute shite.

    Maybe google detect block their ads, and serve me accordingly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google results are trash

      I haven't noticed that. Maybe you're just older and as such, more jaded?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Google results are trash

        I haven't noticed that. Maybe you're just older and as such, more jaded?

        I have, and I am :)

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Google results are trash

      Trash.

      I often have to go to page 2 and 3 to find the results I'm looking for and just as often, results I had from 5 years ago are no longer to be found at all. Things like scientific articles, charts, graphs, tables, etc. from media that are still in business.

      Yet no problem finding "1902 buggy whip parts" that lead to a page dynamically created to game the search engines and no such parts offered.

      The other problem is they have mixed news in with general results, so if there is a popular news article on say, strawberry scented bollocks, there is no way to get any result other than the current news article for pages and pages. The results are saturated like a rum cake. News used to be separate search just for this reason.

      They need to overhaul their search engine in a big way. Breaking out searches by general categories would help, like news or money or real estate or science or medicine. Squashing pages without relevant content would also help. I call them "hollow pages" (you heard it hear first)

  3. Named coward

    confused

    "When consumers look at Google ads they do not get the best, most relevant results. Instead, they get results from advertisers willing to pay Google the most money"

    So when we see ads on TV, billboards etc...they're the "best, most relevant " ads and not from "from advertisers willing to pay"..."the most money"?

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: confused

      A TV channel isn't a search engine...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: confused

        So when we see ads on Microsoft Bing or Windows 10...they're the "best, most relevant " ads and not from "from advertisers willing to pay"..."the most money"...or products from Microsoft (like the Office ads)?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Do no evil...

    Unless we do it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do no evil...

      Actually, you have a point.

      Message to EU commission: please, also investigate Google for having a monopoly on doing evil.

      Ah, no, that won't work. There's also Facebook..

  5. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    "When consumers look at Google ads they do not get the best, most relevant results. Instead, they get results from advertisers willing to pay Google the most money."

    I look forward to being able to go to the newsagents and buy my personal copy of the Sun with ads tailored specifically for me, instead of the current state where the ads are from the advertisers who've paid the Sun the most money for the column inches. Ditto ITV - I haven't got a cat, I've got a motorbike.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You buy the Sun!!!??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You buy the Sun!!!??"

        Some people can only cope with reading via comics written for those with limited intellectual capacity...Don't forget, half the population is of below average intelligence!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      So get a cat, then!!

  6. seven of five

    Europe might be a shadow of what they aspire to be be, but as long as corps do not get extrateritoriality they would do fine not to step onto the toes of people who could put a tank on their lawn. Literally.

  7. toughluck

    We're great, you don't understand competition law, Google tells Europe

    Translation: Our lawyers spent the last moth on that law to try to work out loopholes, but couldn't make head nor tail of it, so we're willing to bet you can't understand that law, either.

    1. Magani
      Coat

      At ease, Greenpeace

      Our lawyers spent the last moth on that law...

      Looks like we've found a reason for the Great European Moth Shortage.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Google is just being disruptive

    As its immense money pile allows it to. Like every Internet-based company these days, it believes that it can redefine the law of any land by virtue of simply saying that things are like it wants, not like they actually are. Uber is starting to learn the limits of such behavior.

    Contrary to most, jurists are experts at listening to arguments to better destroy them, and the law is not defined by an Internet company.

    Still, Google (and others) have deep coffers and know how to use that to lobby and get the laws they want. So Google may be right one day, but I am personally pining for the judge who would take such declarations and slap a $10 billion fine for contempt of court.

    Never going to happen, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google is just being disruptive

      "As its immense money pile allows it to."

      Let's see how Google behaves when it has to donate lots of that "money pile" to the EU budget...

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    optional title

    Different search engines give different results.

    Google is current market leader, if they have a product in a certain area then you would expect them to have it high in list of search results (a search is free after all).

    If search was chargeable then there might be more valid arguments for position of certain sites in the results, but it's a free service so bias is expected (well it is by me anyway).

    if EU is so peeved they could create their own free to use search engine - if it's good enough maybe people will use it.

    Personally I prefer aggregating search engines rather than just one search provider (I recommend people try a variety of search tools every now and again - IMHO Google search is much worse than it was a few years ago)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Personally I prefer aggregating search engines rather than just one search provider"

      ~ Ok please suggest some good sites that aggregate search engine results?

      ~ Been using DuckDuckGo, but their results from Yahoo have started to tank.

      ~ So I'm test driving Qwant right now, but may return to using Startpage etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Personally I prefer aggregating search engines rather than just one search provider"

        "Been using DuckDuckGo, but their results from Yahoo have started to tank"

        Most of DuckDuckGo comes from Bing - which is largely why it tends to be better than Google...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Most of DuckDuckGo comes from Bing - which is largely why it tends to be better than Google...

          Not Bing not any longer at least:

          https://help.yahoo.com/kb/search-for-desktop/SLN27299.html

          1. TheVogon

            Re: Most of DuckDuckGo comes from Bing - which is largely why it tends to be better than Google...

            "Not Bing not any longer at least:"

            Yes it does: https://duck.co/help/results/sources

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: optional title

      Google is current market leader, if they have a product in a certain area then you would expect them to have it high in list of search results (a search is free after all).

      If search was chargeable then there might be more valid arguments for position of certain sites in the results, but it's a free service so bias is expected (well it is by me anyway).

      There are lots of reasons why a monopoly search engine is fantastically dangerous (and please, don't try to tell me that there is viable competition).

      First of all, if it acts as a gateway to the rest of the Internet, that means it can extract a toll for doing so, and it does. It doesn't charge you, but it charges those who want to be found and you thus no longer have a selection based on a fair applied formula (which is kept secret as well), but you get whoever paid best. This means that if you are looking for, say, the cheapest widget x, you may not get that at all - you will get a result that starts with someone who has paid money to APPEAR as having the cheapest widget x. Technical support fraud is a good example for where that goes wrong.

      Secondly, having a monopoly means that a lot of effort is put in staying there. That means forcing people into agreements they don't want (the current Android investigation is an example) and it means nuking any competition before it becomes a threat (FairSearch is not entirely unbiased, but it does have a couple of good points).

      The simplest way to see what impact such a non-benign monopolist can have on a market is to simply examine the history of Microsoft, whilst keeping in mind that even Microsoft wasn't spying so deeply on people and companies that they were likely to know in advance what was coming..

      If I were working for the European Commission I'd make sure that nobody used Android phones. Wileyfox maybe if it absolutely had to be the Android UI, but not pure Android. Far too dangerous IMHO.

  10. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Coffee/keyboard

    New keyboard please

    Google, thy name is Hubris

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New keyboard please

      Wasn't it Alphabet?

      :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: New keyboard please

        H, U , B, R, I and S are all in the Alphabet ;-)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just stop using Google for anything

    I know it won't make a bit of difference except to you but you will feel better for it.

    Ironically the old Nokia HQ in Farnborough is shared between BMW and Alphabet. Perhaps it is time for both to be taken down a peg or two?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just stop using Google for anything

      "Ironically the old Nokia HQ in Farnborough is shared between BMW and Alphabet."

      That Alphabet is a BMW-owned fleet management service and not the Google parent company.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually Google have a point

    As the EU have also gone after them for having a monopoly on "licensable smartphone operating systems" it could indeed be argued that they really don't have a clue. The EU should drop the spurious stuff and concentrate on the search issues to stop giving Google wiggle room.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the NSA and GCHQ could develop their own search engine and 'cut out the middlemen'...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Maybe the NSA and GCHQ could develop their own search engine"

      They have. It's called Echelon...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and the exercises of its vast power cause more harm than Microsoft’s did."

    He obviously doesn't have to deal with their crap software and licensing on a daily basis. Working with MS software isn't IT, when it fails it's just fooling around making educated guesses untill their crap accidentally happens to work again. Costing billions of downtime and lost productivity in the process. Not even to mention their Office cash cow that brings nothing new with every release, yet keeps getting increasingly more expensive.

    Any enemy of MS is a friend of mine, hopefully Google and others keep pushing them hard untill Linux becomes the standard.

  15. Fihart

    Three words...

    Duck Duck Go.

  16. Gordon Pryra

    FairSearch represents vertical search rivals shafted by Google

    The biggest trouble is that there are NO decent alternatives.

    There never have been, from the moment Google hit the web the other search engines all looked like crap. From Excite, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Bing etc none of them actually return much in the way of relevent results.

    Yeah Googles results are not as good as they used to be (and I am a pretty heavy poster on the indexing and ranking good help pages) but they are far and away the only real choice.

    As soon as people become competition by offering a decent service, then all this rubbish becomes moot

    People use Google becuase they are good. They have to go to google, its not default like Bing

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: FairSearch represents vertical search rivals shafted by Google

      People use Google because it's the default on all Android phones and tablets.

      Sure it's also pretty good, but not as good as it once was, with all paid crap at the top of searches nowadays.

      Bing is only the default on a shrinking platform, when it comes to personal "computing" (web surfing, social media, etc).

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: FairSearch represents vertical search rivals shafted by Google

        Let's be honest here - when was the last time anyone went to the shopping tab of Google Search, instead of going to Amazon, when looking for a product?

        The entity "Fairsearch" isn't about fair searching, in the same way the entity "Consumer Watchdog" isn't about being a consumer watchdog.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: FairSearch represents vertical search rivals shafted by Google

          Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think Google arranges search results according to secret algorithms only when you hit the Shopping tab? I think it does it all the time?

  17. Blitheringeejit
    Boffin

    How about making things a lot simpler...

    ...and instead of trying to make incomprehensibly abstract laws about how to regulate "competition" between advertisers, just make some simple tax laws which force all these companies pay a decent amount of tax in all the countries in which they operate.

    I really couldn't give a flying toss about advertising and search results, and unlike Amazon, Facebook, Ebay and whoever, I actually get a lot of direct benefit from what Google provides for free - not search results, they are always going to be commercially biased, but definitely mapping and navigation info, and some of their cloud services.

    I'd hate to see the EU regulators piss Google off so much that they take the free stuff away - but I really want them to pay a fair share of tax on the profits they make from their advertising business, and pay it in the countries where those profits are earned.

    1. DavCrav

      Re: How about making things a lot simpler...

      "...and instead of trying to make incomprehensibly abstract laws about how to regulate "competition" between advertisers, just make some simple tax laws which force all these companies pay a decent amount of tax in all the countries in which they operate."

      We have regulations. You might not see why this one is useful but lots of people do. Do you see why company stores, private police forces, debtors' prisons and so on are not allowed any more? Those are very real things, outlawed by abstract laws.

  18. nijam Silver badge

    "FairSearch represents vertical search rivals shafted by Google"

    I really, really don't believe that.

    And while we're on the subject, vertical search - AKA comparison sites - are best avoided because they are often owned or largely funded by one or other of the big players in the relevant market, but keep that fact very well hidden. Secret usually, in fact.

  19. h4rm0ny
    Boffin

    That's two words.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Even the Nazis thought they were the good guys!

    They really did think that violently ridding Europe of Jews, gypsys and communists and reducing Slavs to helotry was for the good of mankind. And the Khmer Rouge really did think that resetting Cambodian society to "Year 0" and forcing the urban population into brutally run agricultural collectives was very much for the best. And on a more commercial front, Goldman Sachs' CEO Llloyd Blankfein really did testify before Congress that Goldman was doing "The Lord's work", even when that meant throwing together derivative products that their own personnel knew were financially self-destructing and bet against the success of once Goldman actually sold them.

    So invoke my violation of Godwin's Law if you want, but the fact is that even pretty obvious evil-doers and lowlifes very seldom think they are being evil-doers and lowlifes.

  21. zanderman

    Pot and Kettle Syndrome

    Fairsearch?! That's rich - the EU has spent the last 5 years wrestling with the Expedia/Booking.com duopoly. Should really be http://fairersearch.org/

  22. herman Silver badge

    I love the picture, but I thought Jesus uses an Apple Mac Pro?

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      I'm pretty sure he uses an iPad Pro. A practice established by God and Moses.

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