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EU convenes panel to check Android antitrust case, record fines possible by year’s end

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The $2.7 billion fine Europe levied against Google last week over its Shopping product was quite significant. However, that is the least of Google’s troubles as they face another record fine over perceived antitrust aspects of Android. The latest move sees the EU setting up another panel of experts to provide a second opinion on the ongoing case.

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EU set to file third set of antitrust charges against Google, this time over advertising

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The European Union has already filed two sets of antitrust charges against Google, the first accusing it of manipulating search results to favor its own products, the second alleging that Google forces Android device manufacturers to install its own apps and set Google search as the default.

Last summer, it was reported that the company may face a third antitrust case in Europe, this time for abusing its dominant position in advertising, and the WSJ reports that the EU is currently preparing to files these charges, possibly next month …

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EU officially accuses Android of breaking antitrust rules, Google responds

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As previously rumored, in a press release published today, the EU has filed yet another antitrust movement against Google. This time it centers on Android, the company’s wildly successful mobile operating system, which the EU thinks is in breach of the continent’s antitrust rules. In short, the European Commission thinks Google is using Android to deliberately restrict other mobile operating systems, browsers and search engines.

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Google now under Android antitrust investigation in the U.S. as well as Europe

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Google must wonder whether it will ever be free from antitrust investigations. Following antitrust charges against its search business (cleared in the USA, upheld in Europe), the EU filed a second complaint that Google had abused its dominant position in the mobile field to favor its own Android apps. The allegation is that Google forced smartphone companies to favor Google apps over rival ones in return for permission to use Android. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. appears to be opening a similar investigation in the USA.

The Federal Trade Commission reached an agreement with the Justice Department to spearhead an investigation of Google’s Android business, [two sources] said. FTC officials have met with technology company representatives who say Google gives priority to its own services on the Android platform … 

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The never-ending Google anti-trust story: the company could now face civil claims in Europe

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It seems Google’s legal woes in Europe will never end. The European Commission has long been running an investigation into whether Google was guilty of anti-competitive behaviour in Europe, which finally resulted in a filing of charges in April and a warning of large fines in June. It may be next year – some six years after the investigation began – before the final ruling.

A second anti-trust investigation into Android followed, and a third one not long afterwards, this time into its web advertising business. As if all that weren’t enough, the NY Times reports that a US law firm and European public affairs company have created a joint venture to help companies file civil claims against Google in the event that the EC finds it guilty of the first set of charges …  Expand
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Google may face yet another European antitrust prove, this time over ad products

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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
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Yahoo trialling Google ads in search despite earlier objections by Dept of Justice

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Yahoo is currently including Google ads in some of its search results in what the company described to the NY Times as a “small test.” The ads were first spotted by SEO Book.

Yahoo confirmed on Wednesday that it has begun testing the use of Google search ads for a small portion of its desktop and mobile web search results. “As we work to create the absolute best experiences for Yahoo users, from time to time, we run small tests with a variety of partners including search providers,” the company said.

Google offered Yahoo an ad partnership all the way back in 2008, but pulled out after objections from the Department of Justice on antitrust grounds …  Expand
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Harvard/Columbia study for Yelp may influence level of European antitrust fines for Google

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A study commissioned by Yelp and carried out by two prominent U.S. academics has quantified the impact of Google giving prominence to its own services over organic results, reports the WSJ.

The study’s authors— Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Tim Wu of Columbia Law School—found that users were 45% more likely to click on results that were ranked purely by relevance, rather than as Google ranks them now, with its own services displayed prominently.

The study of 2,500 Internet users said that the results provided empirical evidence that Google’s promotion of its own services resulted in lower-quality search results for consumers. Google, in contrast, had argued that its own specialist services can provide consumers with more precise answers to their queries.

Yelp was one of a number of companies that filed European antitrust complaints against Google five years ago, leading to a European Commission investigation that has been running ever since – with various attempts by Google to bring proceedings to and end. Some of these were rejected while others were accepted, but the EC finally decided in April to file charges against Google, before being told to expect large fines.

The results of this study may influence the level of these fines.

Photo: AP

Google admits it hasn’t always been clear to European users & businesses regarding its policies

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Google has been facing legal heat in Europe for several users over how it handles and collects user data as well as its monopoly-like actions, but today the company finally admitted that it has made some mistakes. Google’s European chief executive Matt Brittin stated today to Politico that Google has failed to make its intentions well-known in Europe.

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