Daily Management Review

165 Firms Critical Of Google Writes To EU Antitrust Body To Take Action Against Google: Reuters


165 Firms Critical Of Google Writes To EU Antitrust Body To Take Action Against Google: Reuters
Alleging that the United States based search engine giant Google unfairly favours its own services on its web searches, a call on the antitrust enforcers European Union to take a tougher line against the US company was given by a group of 165 companies and industry bodies.
In addition to companies in the US and the United Kingdom, others from 21 countries in the EU were part of the group. Alleging that preferential placement in its search results were being given by Google to its own services, such as those for accommodation, travel and jobs, the group sent a joint letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Thursday and called on her to take swift action to bring an end to the practice.
Charges that it unfairly favours its own services have been refuted by Google, a unit of Alphabet. Its business practices does not lock in users, Google said and alleged that competitors to its services can be easily found with just one click.
“People expect Google to give them the most relevant, high quality search results that they can trust,” a Google representative said.
“They do not expect us to preference specific companies or commercial rivals over others, or to stop launching helpful services which create more choice and competition for Europeans.”
Within the past three years, total fines of 8.25 billion euros ($9.7 billion) against Google has been levied by Vestager over charges of abusing its market power and business policies to favour its advertising business, its Android mobile operating system and its own shopping comparison service.
135 companies that offer online services and 30 industry associations made up the 165-strong group. It alleges to be the largest-ever group to write together to EU competition chiefs urging action.
The letter from the group had been received by it and a reply would be sent to it in due course, the European Commission said. In order to assess the effectiveness of the remedies offered for Google Shopping, it monitored the market carefully, the Commission added.
“While we compete amongst ourselves for the best consumer experience, there is one common competitor that does not compete fairly - Google,” the letter said.
“Google gained unjustified advantages through preferentially treating its own services within its general search results pages by displaying various forms of grouped specialised search results (so-called OneBoxes),” it added.
OneBoxes is one of the ways for local businesses to get more visibility in which the information and images are presented to viewers in boxes placed near the top of search results.
For example, a box offering Google’s job-search service may be shown to a user searching for local jobs, or a box offering Google’s flights-search service may be presented to a user looking at results for a flight query.
“With this exclusive use of OneBoxes, Google artificially keeps users within its own service and prevents them from visiting competing, more relevant services,” the letter said.
“Many of us may not have the strength and resources to wait until such regulation really takes effect,” the signatories of the letter said.