European commission ▪ July 22

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Just as one European antitrust case against Google reached its conclusion, with a second one underway, it may be facing a third, reports the Financial Times.

The first antitrust case found that Google abused its dominant position in search to promote its own products over that of competitors. with the company told to expect large fines. A second one is underway, to determine whether Google forced smartphone manufacturers to favor its own apps over competitor ones in return for permission to use Android.

The FT now reports that a number of companies selling online advertising have asked the European Commission to consider a third case, to investigate Google’s dominance of the web advertising business …  expand full story

European commission ▪ June 29

European commission ▪ May 15

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The Financial Times is reporting that European mobile carriers are planning to block Google and other web ads in order to reduce demands on their networks and break Google’s hold on advertising (via TNW).

According to the story, which cites anonymous sources, the carriers have installed software from Israeli ad-blocking firm Shine in their data centers to block advertising in Web pages and apps, but not social networks.

Many websites, 9to5Google among them, depend on ad revenue to deliver free content to their readers. Any move to block ads could have far-reaching consequences …  expand full story

European commission ▪ April 15

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As expected, the EU has formally accused Google of abusing its dominant position in search to favor links to its own products over those offered by competitors. The complaint takes the form of a Statement of Objections: a formal method of announcing that it believes Google has acted illegally and that a full investigation is underway.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that “Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

Google has not wasted any time in attempting to convince the Commission otherwise, arguing in a blog post that the evidence shows that Google has not harmed traffic to competitor websites …  expand full story

European commission ▪ April 14

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Update: the EU Commission has now filed its complaint

It doesn’t sound good for Google in Europe where the company has faced continued criticism, some comical and some less so, for using its dominant 90+% search share to give advantages to its other properties and squash competitors. FT:

Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.

The NYTimes:

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement that Google has abused its dominant position on Wednesday in Brussels, according to two people who spoke on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity…

“The E.U. competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will decide what steps they want to go,” Günther Oettinger, a German politician who is charge of Europe’s digital economy, told Die Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, on Sunday. “I think that they will be far-reaching.”

Google has yet to comment on the matter but if Google fails to rebut any formal charges, Ms. Vestager could “levy a huge fine that could go above 6 billion euros, or $6.4 billion, amounting to about 10 percent of Google’s most recent annual revenue”.

Google stock is off 2 points today.

Image via TNW

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European commission ▪ April 3

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Reuters reports that the plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google have finally withdrawn their case. The case, which was brought against Google nearly a year ago, accused the company of being anticompetitive with several of its Search and Android practices.

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