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Google antitrust investigation

25 April 2013
by BEUC -- last modified 25 April 2013

Following the European Commission’s announcement on their Google antitrust investigation, BEUC Director General Monique Goyens commented:


"The crux here is ensuring fair and non-discriminatory choices for EU consumers while eradicating the current anti-competitive behaviour in what is essentially a monopoly market. Our initial reaction is one of disappointment as we do not think today's proposals can credibly achieve these targets.

"Labelling results will do little or indeed nothing to prevent Google from manipulating search results and discriminating against competing services. It may even shepherd consumers towards clicking on Google services now highlighted in a frame. Labelling should not be the sole solution. Infringements of competition rules call for strong and rigorous structural remedies where needed, going beyond the halfway house of consumer information. Labelling an infringement of competition law doesn't prevent it being an infringement.

"The proposal to display links to three rival specialised services raises the natural question of who decides the promotional criteria. If that is Google, it leaves too much discretion in their lap while most importantly, not solving the problem of non-discriminatory choices for consumers.

"We will of course examine this in the closest of detail and present our analysis to the Commission. We hope we can iron out an improved end-result."

The European Consumer Organisation is formally an 'interested party' to the investigation into Google's potential abuse of their dominant position in the EU online search engine market. BEUC recently published its suggested remedies to the matter. A further outline of the issues involved can also be found in the introduction of this document.

BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation has a membership of 39 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 30 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for these organisations and our main task is to represent our members and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers.

BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation