Google rejects Europe’s anti-trust charges

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 1:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 1:13am

Google poured scorn on European Union allegations it skewed shopping search results to favour its own services and said regulators have failed to see that the search-engine giant is competing head on with e-commerce giants Inc. and EBay Inc.

Google said Thursday that the EU’s allegations lack evidence and would ultimately harm users in favour “of a small number of websites,” in a blog posting detailing its response to European Commission antitrust objections over its comparison-shopping and AdSense services.

“The commission’s revised case still rests on a theory that just doesn’t fit the reality of how most people shop online,” Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel said in the blog post. The EU’s “claims are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.”

Google faced four EU antitrust complaints since 2010.

Europe’s top antitrust official Margrethe Vestager has accused Google of unfairly promoting its shopping service and undercutting competitors by limiting their ability to place search ads on third party websites.

“We will carefully consider Google’s response before taking any decision on how to proceed and cannot at this stage prejudge the final outcome of the investigation,” the European Commission said in an emailed statement.

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The latest development underscores the high stakes for Google, which is facing three antitrust cases in Europe.

The European Commission has also charged Google with using its popular Android mobile software to promote its own services over those of competitors.

The concern for Google: It could be forced to make changes to the way it conducts its business in the European Union, from the money it makes from online search in Europe to the prominent placement of its apps on mobile devices.

Google could also face fines as high as 10 per cent of its global revenue, which totaled US$75 billion last year.