Google antitrust enquiry
On Wednesday February 5, Commissioner Almunia publicly outlined on behalf of DG Competition the framework of possible settlement with Google on the investigation into a potential breach of European competition law.
Under scrutiny for 4 years, the focal point of the inquiry was whether Google Inc. has abused its dominant (91%) share of the online search engine market by stacking its search results in such a way as to pyramid its ‘preferred services’ and deny consumers a fair, objective and neutral results series. Particularly applicable to enquiries such as price comparisons, retailer locations and goods sources the enquiry might be settled in a following months after Google’s second round of proposals.
BEUC was roundly and widely critical in international media of both the procedure (a sudden capitulation by DG Comp without a further market test) and the substance (principally that price comparison alternative or ‘rival’ results were now to be decided by auction.