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EU Offers Google Chance To Settle Prior To Anti-Trust Enquiry

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-as-we-say dept.

Advertising 119

Fluffeh writes "The EU has accused Google of abusing its dominant position in advertising to benefit its own advertising services at the expense of competitors. In a twist however, rather than initiating formal proceedings, the EU has given Google a chance to settle the whole matter without much fuss. They outlined four changes that Google can make that will put it firmly back in the good graces of the EU. Google has been given 'a matter of weeks' to propose remedies to the four issues — which all tie in with how search results are displayed, their format and their portability to other platforms. This matter has come before the EU based on complaints by a few small companies and Microsoft." The four issues: Displaying results to their own services specially, use of user reviews from other sites in search results, Advertising "...agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google," and concerns that Google is imposing "...contractual restrictions on software developers which prevent them from offering tools that allow the seamless transfer of search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other platforms..."

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Google (2, Insightful)

hudsonwalls (2644965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074237)

This is actually what most people commenting on Google's antitrust issues miss. The comments about how easy it is for people to change search engines is not relevant because it isn't even the issue. They cannot see forest from the trees.

Google's antitrust issues are not about the everyday user. Remember, you are not their customer. You are their product. The antitrust issues are about abuse towards other companies, ad networks and services. You may not care about this if you're selfish and just think about yourself, but the issue is very real.

Google is intentionally abusing their position to promote their own products and hide competitors. Yes, this thing matters. And not only are they promoting their own services over competitors, much of the data they use is scraped off those services. Great example is hotel, restaurant etc reviews on Google Maps. They are all taken from competitors services, and promoted way higher than those services in google search results. Google prohibits these things for other websites and penalizes them, but yet seem perfectly fine to do it themselves.

Another case in point is the exclusivity agreement in AdWords. If you want to use AdWords (and you often have to because it's the prominent player and they also own Doubleclick since long time ago), you cannot run your ads on competitors services. It is prohibited in the terms. That is just monopoly abuse.

Re:Google (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074295)

I can easily be described as a google fanboy - I have (and love) my Android Phone (a Galaxy Nexus, in fact). I signed up to Gmail back when it was invite-only and people only had about 6 invites to give out (or sell/trade, as was the case back then) and I even use Google+. However, I completely agree with what the above poster is saying. Fanboyism aside, no company should be able to abuse its position in the marketplace. Even if Google isn't entirely guilty or found to not be doing anything deliberately that harms competition, its still absolutely appropriate that they're investigated and regulated accordingly.
The same should apply to any and all businesses with a large hold on the market, be they software companies, banks, pharmaceuticals, governments and so on.

I like Google on the whole and I genuinely believe that the founders were genuine in their model of "Do no Evil", but its a huge company now with a lot of power - I find it hard to believe that every single employee, every manager, every executive is entirely altruistic and doing what's best for everyone rather than what's just best for them/Google.

Re:Google (-1, Troll)

syockit (1480393) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074475)

I can easily be described as a google fanboy -

Wow, really?

and I genuinely believe that the founders were genuine in their model of "Do no Evil"—

So much for being a fanboy. You couldn't even get the motto right.

Re:Google (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074539)

Thank you for your thought-provoking contribution to this discussion.

Re:Google (2)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074559)

No True Scotsman fallacy.

NEXT!

Re:Google (1, Insightful)

smwny (874786) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074695)

I am not sure if I am a google fanboy or not. I just use the best product which is often Google. I use GMail, Chromium, and Google Search. I have android on my phone/laptop and contributed to the Go Programming Language. What makes me probably not a google fanboy is I would drop any one of their products in a heartbeat if I found something better. Looking at the changes the EU wants, my answer to all but one is that I would personally be upset if they did what the EU wanted.

Displaying results to their own services specially

None of the EU's business. I like to see results from other services. It is useful.

use of user reviews from other sites in search results, Advertising

I like to see user reviews in my search results. I find it useful.

"...agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google," and concerns that Google is imposing "...contractual restrictions on software developers which prevent them from offering tools that allow the seamless transfer of search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other platforms..."

This I agree with. It is wrong for Google to do these types of things. I would probably still not want the government to stop them... but that is because I lean libertarian. As much as I dislike anti-trust laws, this is what they are supposed to stop. I will save arguments over anti-trust laws for another day. But the other changes the EU wants are for Google to make their product less useful out of fairness to other companies. I don't care if the fact that Google has the money and power to make a better product makes it harder for others to compete. That is no reason to regulate them into removing features.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075211)

The problem is the double standards being applied. Whilst yes Google does abuse it's position in some cases, the things it doesn't aren't in any way as bad as the things other tech companies are guilty of. Microsoft's abuse of the standards process with OOXML, Apple's abuse of it's vertical integration, monopoly on music to lock people into it's platform, and it's strong market share in digital content to distort for example, the ebooks market, Facebook's constant illegal breaches of various data protection acts across the globe, Oracle's pretending it's a good little company to take over Sun, only to completely fuck previous commitments to openness etc.

All of these other companies are guilty of things that have been far more harmful to consumers, developers, and companies, yet only Google is the one being properly investigated. Is there something I'm unaware of that makes the advertising agency a magical gift to mankind that means it needs extra additional protections beyond the fact Microsoft was behind this original complaint and targetted ads because they know it's Google's lifeblood?

Re:Google (2)

Sudline (1552111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075909)

What about Microsoft ballot screen, and 497 million euros fine from the same EU?

Re:Google (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076103)

It's a pretty silly argument to say that Google have been unfairly singled out, and quite wrong too. The companies that you mention have all had their share of regulatory intervention, especially in the EU. Your first example, Microsoft (exactly who was inconvenienced by their OOXML standard?) is the first company that springs to mind when thinking of EU intervention. Remember the browser choice screen [browserchoice.eu] or the two billion dollars in fines [mashable.com] ?

They are also keeping their eye on Apple in the eBook market [mashable.com] , although I maintain that the consumer has benefited from Apple being able to strong-arm the record industry on removing their DRM. Facebook's privacy problems have also been the subject of scrutiny in the EU [guardian.co.uk] . And for Oracle...

No, I can't bring myself to even appear to defend Oracle!

So the idea that Google should be given a free pass because they are being unfairly picked on is just rubbish. That doesn't mean to say that the EU's complaint isn't without issue. The fact that Google displays links to its own vertical search services doesn't seem too unreasonable, and it is a practice that has gone on in the industry for years. I first saw this used by Yahoo when they linked to their own services in their results (eg. Yahoo Finance). And when I search for "microsoft stock price" on Google, I got links to an assortment of financial sites at the top of the results (eg. Yahoo Finance).

Similarly, when they include reviews or news from other sites, they always link to the source. That said I can see that there would be a concern if they show the entire news story or review which means that you never have to follow the link. I guess there is a legitimate concern about some of Google's practices, but I am wary of the heavy handed, simplistic approach that the EU regulators sometimes utilise.

Re:Google (2)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076219)

"exactly who was inconvenienced by their OOXML standard?"

They got it recognised as an international standard giving it increased legitimacy, when the standard was incomplete and realistically impossible for competitors to support fully. So to answer your question, people who were inconvenienced by Microsoft's hijacking of the standards process, is anyone who wants to be able to use free software, and not pay a Microsoft tax to be able to interoperate with other businesses in the exchange of documents.

"They are also keeping their eye on Apple in the eBook market"

Oooh, keeping their eye on, that'll teach them!

"although I maintain that the consumer has benefited from Apple being able to strong-arm the record industry on removing their DRM"

I maintain that Apple gained far more by continuing to exploit platform lockin through DRM to leave consumers with the choice of losing hundreds of pounds of content, or to buy Apple when their device with it's non-user replaceable battery and hence planned obsolence inevitably became obsolete.

"So the idea that Google should be given a free pass because they are being unfairly picked on is just rubbish."

I don't think they should be given a free pass. I just think that the EU should be targetting everyone else, and doing so by prioritising in order of urgency. In that order of urgency I think Google would be a fair bit down the list. I'd argue that Facebook would be at the top because it's breaches of European data protection acts are out and out illegal.

It seems to go beyond this however, the problem is that this isn't the first time Google has been investigated, the problem is that it's being investigated over a number of other issues - it's privacy policy, it was investigated over street view, it's investigated left right and centre any time it even steps into slightly questionable territory and again, that's not a bad thing, but why just Google? The problem is I suspect precisely because of this type of bullshit that another posted below linked:

http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/02/how-microsoft-pays-big-money-to-smear-google-audaciously/ [falkvinge.net]

It just seems that if you're a tech giant you can get away with an awful lot, unless you're Google, in which case expect every single little thing to be scrutinised. The problem isn't scrutiny of Google, the problem is the other tech giants getting away with some pretty gross levels of abuse.

Re:Google (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076771)

Microsoft's abuse of the standards process with OOXML

Certainly obnoxious, but not a crime.

Apple's abuse of it's vertical integration, monopoly on music

Really? I wasn't aware my only options to buy music were from Apple. I guess Best Buy, Amazon, Wal Mart, Target, eMusic, and dozens of other online and real-world music sellers didn't get the memo.

to lock people into it's platform,

Um. What? Every single song I've ever bought from the iTunes store can be loaded and played on any computer, portable player, or device that supports AAC. How am I locked into iTunes? Every single song I've ever bought from Amazon, Google Music, eMusic, or ripped from CD, I can load on my iPod.

and it's strong market share in digital content to distort for example, the ebooks market

Yes, god forbid anybody should challenge Amazon's monopoly of the ebooks market, where dumping ebooks as a loss leader to sell more Kindles is the strategy du jour. Apple has dick for market share in the ebooks market. If you want to talk about distortion of the market, you should probably be pointing at Amazon.

Facebook's constant illegal breaches of various data protection acts across the globe.

Such as? If they're constant, surely you can give us, say, 5 examples of Facebook "illegally breaching various data protection acts across the globe"? But while we're on privacy, we should also mention Google's standing as a persistent abuser of Safari & IE users - disregarding their chosen privacy settings because Big Daddy Google knows what's *best* for those users, and they must have just been confused in their preferences, and so developed a method to circumvent those settings. Since, you know, you hate double standards, I'd like to make sure Google gets mentioned in "privacy abuses" like that.

Oracle's pretending it's a good little company to take over Sun, only to completely fuck previous commitments to openness etc.

I'm sorry... wait. Did anybody ever for a moment believe that Ellison and company were somehow "good?" just because they shined their shoes before they picked you up?

yet only Google is the one being properly investigated.

Uh. Yeah, Microsoft has never been investigated for Antitrust allegations. And Apple is the subject of an active investigation for exactly the ebooks issue you mentioned (though how Apple gets targeted, and Amazon at least ALSO doesn't get some scrutiny, I'll never understand). Various EU regulatory agencies have also done some saber-rattling in Facebook's direction about their privacy policies and user data. And HP is currently (or was, at least end of last year) petitioning the EU antitrust regulators to investigate Oracle for the same. All of these companies have been involved and targeted at one point or another. Google is certainly just as deserving as any of these.

Re:Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074313)

Sigh.

Another Burson Marsteller anti-Google sockpuppet.

When are you guys going to run out of money and piss off?

Re:Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074667)

When you stop touching yourself at night.

Re:Google (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074371)

More to the point I wonder what company in the EU is a competitor to Google to spark the action.

Re:Google (0, Troll)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074575)

Probably just the usual EU regulators' shakedown of a wealthy US corporation. Last time it was Microsoft's turn in the barrel, now it's Google's. I imagine Apple is next.

They are pretty much shit outta cash over there, in case you haven't picked up a copy of The Economist lately.

Re:Google (2)

r1348 (2567295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074665)

Uhm no. Even the article clearly states that the main company that filed the complaint is Microsoft. You just failed on so many levels...

Re:Google (0)

sleiper (1772326) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074693)

If the EU is looking to fund it's support for failing Eurozone countries with Anti-Trust fines then we're in a worse shape than I thought. Does Google have 1trillion Euro in cash?

Re:Google (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074705)

Probably just the usual EU regulators' shakedown of a wealthy US corporation. Last time it was Microsoft's turn in the barrel, now it's Google's. I imagine Apple is next.

They are pretty much shit outta cash over there, in case you haven't picked up a copy of The Economist lately.

EU has anti-trust as much as the US and China. If you want to do business in the EU, you have to abide to the laws as any other company. And the big American companies get looked at just as often as European ones.
We've had that discussion here: http://apple.slashdot.org/story/12/04/02/123207/apple-is-forced-by-eu-to-give-2-years-warranty-on-all-its-products [slashdot.org]

Also I doubt that the EU does significantly worse than the US, economy wise. Much is being talked. I'd still say the average person is better off in the EU.

Re:Google (1, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074945)

But the EU likes to push hard against Companies (US based or not) that have a European competitor. Such as the case against Intel, the fact that the European company of AMD is one of their biggest competitors had nothing to do with it? Or Nokia vs. Apple and Samsung.

Just admit it, Europe is just as corrupt as the rest of the first world. Once you admit it, then you can start spotting it, and fixing it.

Re:Google (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075191)

But the EU likes to push hard against Companies (US based or not) that have a European competitor. Such as the case against Intel, the fact that the European company of AMD is one of their biggest competitors had nothing to do with it? Or Nokia vs. Apple and Samsung.

Just admit it, Europe is just as corrupt as the rest of the first world. Once you admit it, then you can start spotting it, and fixing it.

Please agree to my point of view, because I don't want to search for facts or change my opinion. It would depress me if there was a nicer place in the world than where I live.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075257)

Such as the case against Intel, the fact that the European company of AMD is one of their biggest competitors had nothing to do with it?

Since when was AMD a European company? From From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD) or AMD is an American multinational semiconductor company based in Sunnyvale, California,

Re:Google (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075451)

Completely false.

The EU has initiated anti-trust action against just as many European companies as foreign companies. Look at the mobile phone market for example, European companies like Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile etc. have been under a constant barrage of regulation from the EU for years over roaming fees etc.

Also your first example doesn't even make any sense whatsoever, AMD isn't even a European company, it's American.

Part the reason for Europe being quite good in this respect is because it is not one country, there's a lot of inter-country rivalry in the EU itself - you can guarantee a British judge wont rule in a French company's favour against a US company for example because of some feeling he must protect a European company because the Brits generally love the French about as much as they love the Germans - i.e. not very much. Similarly you'll get the same sentiment to various other countries in Europe, from their own neighbours. There just isn't some feeling of a European superstate that must trounce outsiders at all costs. Successive British and Czech governments for example have aligned far more closely with Washington than they have Brussels. There just isn't some grand European patriotism for your theory to work out.

The fact you've no idea whatsoever about the topic you're conversing about doesn't make you right, it just makes you a tit. Please, do Slashdot a favour, don't jump into conversations you don't have the foggiest about and assert that you're right and no other suggestion could possibly have any validity.

The biggest irony of it all is that the only reason you're complaining about it is because you yourself feel it's your patriotic American duty to stand up for American companies.

If only you knew which companies were actually American. That would be a start.

Re:Google (1)

djlowe (41723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076733)

the fact that the European company of AMD

Beg your pardon, but AMD is not a European company, it is a US company.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amd

Regards,

dj

Re:Google (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076589)

EU probably has plenty of publicity companies.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074403)

If you're going to shill against Google, you should make sure your points are valid; there are some valid things that they could be criticised for, but just making stuff up isn't going to work.

Great example is hotel, restaurant etc reviews on Google Maps. They are all taken from competitors services

No. The reviews on Google maps are submitted by users directly to Google. Non-Google sourced reviews are linked at the bottom ("Reviews from around the web:"), not embedded.

If you want to use AdWords, you cannot run your ads on competitors services. It is prohibited in the terms.

[citationneeded]

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074777)

Google only stopped ripping off review content after they realized they were in deep dogshit.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074437)

You seem to be suggesting a few different and interesting things

1. This is nothing to do with the end user, potentitally their experiance is enhanced by googles abusive aggregation of data.

2. The people suffering are people who use google to advertise, and googles competitors.

3. Someone [The Government] forced you to advertise on google, that google is the only form of advertising, and more importantly Google stops their customers from using their competitors services to advertise by forcing them at economic gunpoint to sign illegal exclusivity agreements.

Re:Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074581)

Microsoft, who filed the complaint, is probably the biggest abuse of using their monopoly to push new products. Walk into a store selling PCs and you'll see bing ads on microsoft computers. re: the other stuff, google respected copyright when it came to reviews, but they removed such reviews anyways.

Re:Google (2)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074583)

Hmmm... another recently created account with no comment history bashing Google in a long first post (or close to it).

Knock it off. The only thing you're accomplishing is making slashdot's admins look useless.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074645)

1) He didn't bash them. Bashing would be far less intelligent, there is plenty of bashing on Slashdot anyway.

2) Making the admins look useless? For someone with such a low UID, I'm mildly amused you are suggesting admins should be banning people who don't like something you do. The GP posters comments weren't bashing or trolling, and moderators have agreed as he is +5 insightful at the moment.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074955)

he is +5 insightful at the moment

Sure, 'cause you and some other sockpuppets voted him up. But they were damn fast!

Prepare for a worse experience... (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074611)

Google is intentionally abusing their position to promote their own products and hide competitors. Yes, this thing matters.

LMFTFY:

Google is intentionally abusing their position to improve the overall user experience. Yes, this thing matters.

There, that's better.

When I do a search from JFK to LAX, guess what - it is NICE that Google immediately knows that I am interested in a flight and shows me prices. It is NICE that they will show me a map and photos of my destination. It reduces the number of clicks and get gets me what I want faster. The same can be said for all of Google's optimized in-line services. Furthermore, I have never in my life ever heard of evidence showing that Google actually hides the result of a competitor... do you have any evidence to back that up (that is not already refuted)?

Google is very upfront about everything they do, and there are ample other search engines you can use as a user, and that people can advertise on as well.

Re:Prepare for a worse experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074647)

Google's competitors want to do exactly this. They are at the core concerned that google search gives users such information so easily, and want to use european regulators to put a stop to this to get traffic to their crappier services.

Re:Prepare for a worse experience... (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074733)

Google's competitors want to do exactly this. They are at the core concerned that google search gives users such information so easily, and want to use european regulators to put a stop to this to get traffic to their crappier services.

I agree. This whole issue is a they-were-here-first but I-want-profits-too scenario. If Bing can't deliver similar quality search results and/or "experience" (some do like that word in this context :)) than the only thing they can do is force them to change through 3rd parties.

While I don't like everything Google does, generally I really don't mind that they are so good in scraping together so much information in a way that makes my life easier when I'm looking for something. I also don't mind Google putting their services first, since if I'd be in a similar situation, I also would put the advertisement of my own services above others.

Just think about it, you provide search results for queries using the freely available Internet information as a basis, ranking them based on your own view (i.e. algorithm). This is a service that you provide, when someone comes along and says you have to do a worse job, since their similar service can't keep up. You'd say screw them in a heartbeat.

Re:Prepare for a worse experience... (3, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076157)

Not only that, but the company that complained about Google offering this additional information in search results was Microsoft, who do exactly the same thing in their own search engine Bing. They're fully aware that Google search will be less usable if the EU gets its way, and are effectively using the EU to try and force Google to cripple their search in order to drive users to Bing.

(Well, technically I think it was the Microsoft subsidiary which provides shopping results for Bing which submitted the EU complaint, but it's effectively the same thing.)

Re:Google (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074613)

Another case in point is the exclusivity agreement in AdWords. If you want to use AdWords (and you often have to because it's the prominent player and they also own Doubleclick since long time ago), you cannot run your ads on competitors services. It is prohibited in the terms. That is just monopoly abuse.

Mind providing a link to this point? I work at Google, more on the client side-- and have never heard this issue come up, which I find rather odd given that a lot my clients certainly do it. Not saying you're wrong, but I find it hard to believe.

Re:Google (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075189)

It's an outright lie by the GP.

The original comments from the EU about adwords was something to do with the data entered for adwords ads not being portable to other ad networks or something obscure and stupid like that, presumably the EU wants you to be able to export your ad data into XML or something odd. The GP shill managed to translate that into some bullshit about exclusivity agreements that simply isn't true.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074627)

Why should Google care about other companies, like Microsoft? It's not like Google going actively against anybody, they just offer great services. And as long as we as the end-users benefit from their actions there is no reason to stop them. It would be very sad if Google had to limit their services just because Microsoft cannot compete.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074681)

Piss off sock-puppet

Re:Google (5, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074749)

The forest for the trees is that a: microsoft does this and b: they're the ones leading this campaign against google and encouraged others to campaign against google. But nice try.

changing search engines is exactly true, and you *can* do that. However, scraping data from "competitors" (which they aren't) - scraping data from sites with good data to aggregate their reviews is not an abuse of position. It's aggregation of information. Taking yelp reviews for google maps reviews is an agreement google had with yelp. That's not discrimination, that's a strawman to call that "competition" or abusing competition.

The adwords thing is something stupid, but it's not any different than Microsoft getting entire corporations to sign up for using windows and requiring that they do not support any other OS (yes, this is in every company wide subscription based windows 7 deployment/office365 agreement).

Nice try to mislead the entire issue, step by step, along with a similar reply. from Neokushan. Can we stop with the obvious shills to just make this sound like it's a real problem? the "I love (thing), but (comments of hate for a product)" is a really old shill technique and we're bored of it. It's like "I'm an MSCE and love windows and do windows deployments all day, but microsoft is evil". We're tired of that kind of shit.

If you had linked to a real article covering the matter [politico.com] you'd see that the EU is just telling google to comply before they look to press charges.

Re:Google (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074773)

So why is this story about Google's abuse of their search engine and not about the European Union's abuse of regulatory power? I consider the former a case of normal use. Providing search engines, particularly on the scale that Google does, requires some sort of funding. If Google gets it in part by using it for their advertisement, then I see that as normal use.

In contrast, I don't see the case for EU interference in this matter. Other search engines can do the same thing that Google is doing, so I don't see the point of anti-trust regulation being involved.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074817)

Not sure what the big deal is about that practice. I work at a company that resells credit reports. We use data from 3 other companies, put it together in one format that can be catered to customers needs, and then sell it as a product. Otherwise customers would have to buy 3 seperate reports in 3 different formats and try to read/understand the data. If I was in charge of a search engine I would put my company ahead of the companies we get our data from as well, not from a bullying standpoint, but from a relevance/ease of access of data standpoint.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074897)

Blah blah blah, high UID, never posted before, but gets first post astroturf troll.

The fact is, whilst I may not think these are the most ideal business practices, they're far from unusual. Find me any other search engine in history, whether a general web search engine, or a site specific search engine that's ever promoted competitors equally. They've always had their products illustrated more prominently.

No, this, just like posters like you is more about this:

http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/02/how-microsoft-pays-big-money-to-smear-google-audaciously/ [falkvinge.net]

I'm not even convinced your last paragraph is even true.

Still, it looks like your campaign is working, the dumb mods on Slashdot can't see the shill for the trolls (see what I did there?), and Google is being investigated by the EU for something that doesn't even come close to the level of abuse Microsoft is guilty of in terms of it's practices over the years, Apple is guilty of in it's abuse of it's ecosystem, and Facebook is guilty of in it's illegal breaches of various data protection acts across the globe.

Ultimately though you must surely realise it doesn't matter, even if you do start to get your astroturfs regularly modded up, by that point anyone that matters will have long left the site, and you'll just be preaching to a bunch of teenage non-factors. Anyone that does matter, or does have influence, or can think for themselves can see your lame astroturfing for what it is. It's just become too common and too transparent, the pattern is too obvious.

Re:Google (3, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075309)

Another case in point is the exclusivity agreement in AdWords. If you want to use AdWords (and you often have to because it's the prominent player and they also own Doubleclick since long time ago), you cannot run your ads on competitors services. It is prohibited in the terms. That is just monopoly abuse.

There is no such clause in the AdWords terms of service or in the guidelines. You can check it yourself:
https://adwords.google.com/select/tsandcsfinder [google.com]
http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/static.py?hl=en&guide=1316546&page=guide.cs&rd=2 [google.com]

I've been advertising on AdWords for 10 years.. I have never seen such a policy, or heard of such a policy with regards to AdWords.

AdSense does have that policy. IE: if you place google ads on your website, you cannot place bing ads on your website also.

ADSENSE != ADWORDS.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40076645)

Let me introduce you to the top assholes at Google:

  • - Vic Gundotra : The asshole who ruined Google+ by insisting on his moronic Real Names policy.
  • - Sundar Pichai: The utter asshole whose incompetence has resulted in the shutdown of Google's Atlanta office.
  • - David Drummond: Chief Legal Asshole and author of the creepy privacy policy.
  • - Andy Rubin: Another huge asshole. A hypocrite who puts carriers first and users last. An imbecile who brags about Android's openness while keeping all development behind close doors.
  • - Ben Treynor: The very definition of arrogant asshole. Threatened Dell not to buy more hardware from them and then it turned out it was Google who hadn't signed the support contracts. Did he ever apologize for his 'arrogant asshole' behavior? Of course not!

--
Disclaimer: I work for TAGA (The Arrogant Google Assholes)

Detailed review of competition (3, Insightful)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074263)

The European Commission appears to be quite specific and detailed in it's requests. It's encouraging that a body has enough resources to protect even slight issues regarding competition.

That said, "slight" might be worth millions to Google / its competitors, especially as smaller firms have complained as well as Microsoft.

Re:Detailed review of competition (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074359)

Is it not normal practise to give companies a chance to rectify complaints before going to formal legal proceedings anyway? Unless serious harm has been done, like an oil spill.

Re:Detailed review of competition (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074487)

No of course not, europeans are evil; they will plot and plot, and when you least expect it, they will come out of the bush, tackle you and steal all your money. Never go there!

That being said, generally they will come at you like a ton of bricks if they suspect you of doing something illegally (cartel), but it's just a matter of antitrust they will ask you to get back in line or face the wrath of some severely worded letters.

Re:Detailed review of competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075433)

The European Commission appears to be quite specific and detailed in it's requests. It's encouraging that a body has enough resources to protect even slight issues regarding competition.

That said, "slight" might be worth millions to Google / its competitors, especially as smaller firms have complained as well as Microsoft.

How many of those small companies are not being paid by microsoft?

EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074277)

What would the EU do if Google didn't want to negotiate. Block google? Many more users would be upset than have complained i'd say.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074279)

Fine them duh! Google has European assets.

Re:EU vs Everybody (3, Informative)

hudsonwalls (2644965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074285)

There is no need to block Google. We can just keep fining them until they comply. If they refuse to pay the fines or comply, we will close their offices and order banks to stop money transfer to Google. As EU is huge revenue source to Google (unlike China where they were losing), Google will comply in seconds if that happens.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074405)

heya,

Yes, but we should be glad we don't have a mini-Napoleon like you prancing around at the EU.

You cannot simply fine companies randomly on a whim - you actually need to find wrongdoing against them, which is what this case is about. And that process, like any kind of litigation, costs money. It's expensive for *all* parties involved. So the EU probably sees an easy way out - Google makes a plea bargain, essentially, and they don't have to go to all the hassle of trying to prove Google did wrong, as well as the off-chance that they might actually fail to prove wilful wrongdoing, and end up with egg on their faces.

Some of the recent yammering about Google does make me raise my eyebrows though.

The ruckus with the whole wifi "wardriving" thing was a classic example. The entire thing was a complete farce, with millions wasted by the US government to try to prove wrongdoing and the end result...zippo. Scraping packets off the air isn't illegal, and you can't retroactively change the laws on a whim. And 3-4 seconds of data capture per AP is going to net you squat - heck, you probably couldn't even pull a Google search term out of that traffic, assuming it's not even encrypted (either SSL or Layer 2 with WEP/WPA).

And the EU's continued beef with Google - I don't know enough about this particular case to comment, but some of the past cases have seen like a really bad case of sour grapes. I have a feeling that if it was a French or Danish firm, we wouldn't see half this amount of noise from the EU throne.

Considering the sort of actual real privacy rubbish that say Facebook, or Apple engage in, I'm perplexed why they don't hit the headlines as much.

Cheers,
Victor

Re:EU vs Everybody (4, Informative)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074839)

I have a feeling that if it was a French or Danish firm, we wouldn't see half this amount of noise from the EU throne.

This old caveat again, the fact still remains that the biggest fine EU has handed out so far was against an European company(Siemens I think)
And well if I remember correctly Google is incorporated in Ireland(because of the low corporate tax) so I guess technically Google is an European company...

Considering the sort of actual real privacy rubbish that say Facebook, or Apple engage in, I'm perplexed why they don't hit the headlines as much.

I don't know that Apple or Facebook is considered large enough in a specific market to be covered by the antitrust legislation, that is possibly why. But the European Council is preparing legislation that forbids Facebook to sharing user information with advertisers etc, without the users express permission. The Council is apparently also investigating whether Facebook's facial recognition system is contradictory to EU privacy legislation.

Personally I think it's good that there is at least one Governmental organization that doesn't instantly roll over whenever big corps complain.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40076397)

I have a feeling that if it was a French or Danish firm, we wouldn't see half this amount of noise from the EU throne.

Do you honestly think the Spanish Competition Commissioner would feel the remotest snippet of loyalty to a French company?

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074675)

With the unfair targeting of google (gee, why don't you investigate microsoft as they rely on their monopoly to push new products), along with court cases in Europe resulting in completely ridiculous court decisions targeting google for free services, perhaps it's better to leave Europe. There was a lot of money being made in China, and a lot of money to be made, yet thye pulled out. So pulling out of Europea is an option. IMO, the European business climate is a step above Nigeria and not ultimately worth it because in Europe, success = bad.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074801)

Hopefully EU will force Google to provide a 'Google N' service which replaces YouTube with Europe's beloved RealPlayer, the favorite media player of all Europeans.

Re:EU vs Everybody (1)

Sudline (1552111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075997)

I use VLC and XBMC. I have not heard of RealPlayer for a while!

Re:EU vs Everybody (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074363)

Google might be big, but it is not above the law.

What the EU is essentially saying is that Google is breaking the law. They can pay the fine, or battle it out in court (and risk a higher fine perhaps). The EU has many tools at its disposal. A fine would be step 1. But if Google would be so stupid to consistently break the law, or not pay the fine, then they might seize their European assets or otherwise obstruct their business inside the EU. A total block might be the final option.

Google is not stupid, they won't let it come that far. They don't want to lose 500 million users.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074419)

The law is rather vague here. It's a bit hard to be above "the vibe" of the law, or "the feeling" of the law.

Europe needs to answer whether advertising the services provided by a business on signage above it's place of business should be illegal for a player with large market share. It also needs to answer whether a provider of online services can sell advertising inventory against their services, or whether organisations with substantial marketshare in their market, regional newspapers perhaps, should be banned from selling advertising on their own webpages. The answers to these questions when asked by anyone else operating in the EU would be "why doesn't the EU and their useless, vacuous, wastrel, self copulating commissions bugger off and stop destroying the EU economy". But Google is a foreign competitor and the rules are different.

Re:EU vs Everybody (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074579)

You are clearly unaware of the difference between European and English style law.

European law is purposive, which is all about "vibes". You don't get highly specific laws and binding precedent to tell you exactly what's right and wrong. But you do get principles and cases which illustrate how those principles should be applied.

To an Englishman or American, it might be seen to be no rule of law at all - surely it's too easy for a biased judge to re-interpret principles, particularly with pressure from the government of the day? But it's just different, and a purposive approach stops the all too common result of one powerful party putting all its resources into a strong case to set horrible precedent.

(The far greater danger in the ECJ and much of Europe is the lack of jury system. A fine is a punishment, not a remedy, and eligibility for punishment should only be decided by a jury.)

Re:EU vs Everybody (2)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074949)

The lack of a jury is just as much a difference in style of law. In the European system the courts cannot judge the law, they merely enforce it, and they argue that this function is better fulfilled by competent(hopefully) and trained professionals rather than some random person picked off the street.

Juries makes sense when they are empowered not to just decide on guilt or but also whether the law is fair, but from what seems to be the norm in the US today judges routinely strip juries of that power.(at least it seems that way according to the information that makes it across the Atlantic)

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075055)

Even if European judges had a perfectly unbiased interpretation of the law - and institutional bias is far more insidious than bias from a random jury - the final barrier against tyrannical laws is essential. In England, at least, the jury is instructed to be a decider of facts, not of the acceptability of the law, but it is well understood - and enabled via the Contempt of Court Act - that it will nevertheless find no guilt if it considers a law repulsive. This is what we want. The traditional US counterargument about predominantly racist areas acquitting lynchers is a red herring: such events suggest either undemocratic laws or non-random jury selection - far more a problem in the US than England, for England limits the ability of either party to be choosy.

Re:EU vs Everybody (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076171)

Yes if implemented properly juries can be a barrier against tyrannical laws but since the SCOTUS thinks that a trial judge should have no obligation to inform a jury of their right to nullify laws and if Wikipedia is to be believed then it is common practice for a judge to remove a juror if they believe that the juror is aware of the power of nullification(if true then how can this be allowed to persist in a system that is designed with the sole purpose to prevent such things?). When this is the system it is actually much much worse than a non jury system because it practically removes that barrier function and introduce alot of flaws that is often contrary to a fair and impartial ruling, for example the jury will typically have little to no education and therefore lack insight neccessary to render a fair and impartial ruling based on the facts and not the facts as presented by lawyers.

Given such limitations I feel that the system with a panel of judges is better, because if the public disagrees with a jury sentence the system can just blame it on the incompetence of the jurors or that the lawyers managed to trick them, if the ruling is rendered by a panel of judges their only defense/explanation is that the law demands the verdict and thus pressure can be put on the system to change those laws.

If a jury system is to be functional and fulfill it's purpose of the jurors must be well informed about their rights, duties and obligations as well as they should receive a fair compensation for the loss of income due to serving as a juror and they must be allowed to ask leading questions and allowed to seek information to better allow them to render a fair and impartial ruling. The jury as a silent and uninformed interpreter of facts is fundamentally flawed and provides no protection from tyrannical laws and in no way guarantees a fair and impartial ruling.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075985)

What kafkaesque "principles" are we talking about here? Does Google's status as a foreigner mean the rules don't have to be spelled out? Is Europe asking Google to change it's name and logo and links on it's homepage to Bing, Bing Maps, and Windows Phone 7 Market so it's not promoting it's product? Which specific rule is Google specifically breaking other than not being european?

Re:EU vs Everybody (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076857)

No, this is just a preliminary investigation, if it proceeds and finds the Google is indeed breaking any rules those will be revealed and the Commission will start a legal process against Google.

This is more of a "Hey Google, "some people"(those Microsoft dudes we fined for $1.4b a few years back) are complaining that you are breaking our laws. We have decided to investigate whether this is true or not, in the interest of everybody involved(this is in your best interest because if you cooperate we will give you the chance to stop breaking our laws rather than drag you to court over it.) please cooperate with our investigation. In case you should decide not to cooperate with this investigation there will be one anyway and we will drag you to court over anything we find, please remember that this can quite possibly cost you billions of euros if you are breaking any of our laws."

You seem to think that the EU Commission is biased against foreign countries which is a really old(and faulty) caveat that has repeatedly been disproved because the Commission regularly brings these type of cases against European companies as well, the biggest find ever handed out by the Commission was to an European corporation(Siemens I think it was). That is just another case of the EU and US having extremely different views on how corporations are supposed to operate as well as what is and what is not an acceptable behavior.

Re:EU vs Everybody (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074863)

Since Google is incorporated in Ireland(which is a member state) the Council can technically seize all of Google if they persist.
So yes very much I doubt Google is stupid enough to hope the problem goes away if they ignore EU.

Re:EU vs Everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075921)

Google is not incorporated in Ireland, it's incorporated in Delaware. Google has a subsidiary in Ireland which may have some assets.

Re:EU vs Everybody (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076223)

Ok my bad, but the purpose of incorporating is typically to take advantage of the lower corporate tax so Google probably funnels much of their profits through that subsidiary and those funds can then be subject to seizure if Google repeatedly breaks EU law.

"Settle"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074303)

The article linked to doesn't use the word "settle" ... which is usually used in a US context for cases where the government lets a firm that has broken the law pay a bribe instead of going to court ("no admission of guilt", etc, etc).

Monopoly? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074365)

Google currently has 66% of the search market... Interesting that Microsoft is arguing that 66% market share amounts to a dominant, monopolisitic amount that puts Google into anti-trust territory. I wonder what market share Windows and Office currently have, and if Microsoft would accept that they have a monopoly there?

Re:Monopoly? (2)

kombipom (1274672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074429)

Being a hypocrite doesn't automatically make everything you say wrong.

Re:Monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074591)

But it does seem as if the EU is applying their rules against google and not against Microsoft. This is banana republic territory.

Re:Monopoly? (4, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074639)

Are you kidding? They kicked Microsoft's ass and fined them almost 1.5 billion dollars -- even for Microsoft that's big. Since then they have this browser ballot screen and special Europe-only versions of Windows etc..

To Google, so far, they have written a letter.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074721)

Doesn't it typically make half of what you say right?

Re:Monopoly? (1)

hudsonwalls (2644965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074435)

We are talking about EU here, not US. In most of the European countries Google has market share of more than 95% (in my country too). It is often the only choice you have as far as pay per click advertising goes.

On a side note, 60%+ is considered a monopoly anyway.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075029)

In EU antitrust legislation a company doesn't even have to have >50% market share to be covered by the antitrust legislation, the company only needs to have a dominant position within the market or a substantial part of the market . To date the lowest market share that has been found to be "dominant" is 39.7%.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074671)

In EU market share is not the only factor determining dominant position. However, 60% market share is usually the level when a company has to start watching its every step.

In general, a dominant position derives from a combination of several factors which, taken separately, are not necessarily determinative [5] [europa.eu]

[5] Case 27/76 United Brands and United Brands Continentaal v Commission [1978] ECR 207, paragraphs 65 and 66; Case C-250/92 Gøttrup-Klim e.a. Grovvareforeninger v Dansk Landbrugs Grovvareselskab [1994] ECR I-5641, paragraph 47; Case T-30/89 Hilti v Commission [1991] ECR II-1439, paragraph 90.

Did they do [any] investigations? (3, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074531)

First, the EU begins their second assertion by not being sure. Are they serious? Emphasis is mine:

Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings. Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation.

Then they base their next point on this unsubstantiated assertion...again, bold is mine.

In this way they are appropriating the benefits of the investments of competitors.

To make matters worse, they conflate the two issues to emphasize another point, this time focusing on the possibility. Again, emphasis mine.

We are worried that this could reduce competitors' incentives to invest in the creation of original content for the benefit of internet users. This practice may impact for instance travel sites or sites providing restaurant guides...

Here is the question:

Was any investigation done? Doesn't sound like it!

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (3, Interesting)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074597)

Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation.

Bah. If their competitors don't know how to use robots.txt, they're not competent enough to be competitors. On the other hand, if Google is ignoring robots.txt, then I think that would count as unauthorized access, and, given Google's monopoly position, a matter of deep concern.

Note: I think a great deal of the anti-Google nonsense that gets posted on slashdot is total nonsense (if not outright astroturfing), but what the EU is looking at here is something I think they are fully justified in investigating: actual potential anti-competitive behavior that would make sense for Google to engage in. But I agree with you that investigate is the key word there.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074979)

Bah. If their competitors don't know how to use robots.txt, they're not competent enough to be competitors.

What a load of balls. So sites providing reviews should block Google from indexing their reviews altogether? That amounts to "Allow google to index our reviews so people can find our site + let them present our reviews as their own" vs. "Don't let google see our reviews at all - no-one finds our site". Where's the middle ground of letting google index the reviews so people can find them through a websearch but preventing google from presenting those reviews as if they were google's property?

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075277)

You obviously never dealt with robot.txt before. You can set robot.txt to block out specific directories or files meaning you can simply block everything but the few main pages like the home page.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075717)

No, the point remains. Let's say I want to find out about the dining facilities in a hotel, I'd search for "hotel name place dining reviews" - this should hopefully point me to reviews on sites mentioning the dining facilities. If the review sites use robots.txt to block google from seeing the review contents I can't find those reviews. Instead I'd have to restrict my search to "hotel name place reviews" and then check the reviews myself to find one that mentions the dining details.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075179)

The competitors do want their sites to be tracked, after all they want their sites high on Google search etc.(which is part of the complaint).
What they don't want is for Google to start their own very similar service, "steal" the competitors data, implement said data in their own service and present that service higher in any relevant search.

Another thing is that as Google clearly has a dominant market position and as such has extra obligations in EU antitrust legislation and an "opt-out" standard such as robots.txt might not be enough to protect Google in relevant cases where they might need the users express permission and a failure to opt-out does not equal express permission.
Besides robots.txt does not work when you want Google to index something for the purpose of Google search but not in Google maps or other services for example.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075781)

Uh.. the web was, last I checked, an opt-in thing. So.. these competitors are opting in by running a webserver. Robots.txt lets them selectively opt out and Google should (and as far as I know, does) obey instructions contained within robots.txt. If these competitors can't be fucking bothered to configure robots.txt, then maybe it isn't so important to not be spidered. Just as with all the various news corporations, if you don't want everything on your site indexed.. pay some pseudo-techie a couple hundred bucks and be done with it. But no.. they want to pay some lawyers, PR people, and burn up the time of political bodies trying to have their cake and eat it too.

It is quite possible to have a site's homepage indexed for display in Google Search, without having any of the marketable data (like reviews) in the index for Search or any other service. They just don't want that. Because they want to make money off the traffic Google gives them without having Google make any money off the data they give Google. These are the same companies that will happily take my data (... a review) and turn it into a revenue source without paying me.

There are actual corporate actions I would love to see a lot less of, because they really do damage markets, restrain trade, and trample real people's interests. This.. isn't one.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076401)

Yes the internet is obviously opt-in but that is not reason to not punish online behavior that the society sees as wrong and EU clearly believes that this behaviour might be wrong.

Yes they want to limit how Google can monetize their data because that action harms their business. Google has become so ubiquitous that it pretty much is infrastructure these days and as such EU requires it to be neutral, I see nothing wrong with that.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (1)

bladesinger (2420944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40074877)

So true. At least someone here uses their brain instead of their feelings. This is how anti-trust forces operate. They are subjective and unscientific. Almost all of the above posters besides this one have responded with their "feelings" on the matter. Google is evil, so this is OK. How about another approach- Google can do whatever Google wants with their search engine website. It's *their* website. "Google intentionally abusing their position"...they EARNED that position by making a search engine that the whole world uses. They're not doing anything illegal by promoting their own services...that is the point. What makes anyone think that the EU, with their witch-hunts and subjective nonsense- as if a tribe of politicians know how best to 'make the competition better?' Has anyone forgotten that Bing has (been accused of) USING GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS? That's Google's competitor...the one that Google is...taking advantage of. I see the irony, does anyone else?

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075467)

How about another approach- Google can do whatever Google wants with their search engine website. It's *their* website. "Google intentionally abusing their position"...they EARNED that position by making a search engine that the whole world uses. They're not doing anything illegal by promoting their own services...that is the point.

The coalition of nations known as EU has as sovereign nations the right to make laws as they see fit within their borders, that right trumps Google's concerning everything within the borders of EU and EU legislation as presented in "Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union" makes certain business practices illegal
"Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market insofar as it may affect trade between Member States."
for example:
(a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions such as forbidding AdWords users to show their ads with other distributors.
(b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers
(c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage for example promoting their own services ahead of the competitors
(d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts." such as forbidding AdWords users to show their ads with other distributors.

It's very simple really. the member states of the EU has agreed on what should pass as law within EU as is their right as sovereign nations and anyone who wish to do business in the EU has to obey those laws, furthermore Google has chosen to incorporate itself in Ireland which puts them firmly under the rule of Irish and EU legislation to an even greater extent than just doing business within EU's borders. Google can choose to incorporate someplace else and not do business in the EU market but considering the size of that market that clearly is not an option.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074933)

The wheels of government move slowly, but they do move.

Re:Did they do [any] investigations? (1)

Necroman (61604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076429)

I have a friend that's been part of Google's product review team for a few years. From my understanding, they do not do content scraping for reviews when associating them to products. Websites must actually subscribe and push the data to google to have it included (or present an XML feed for google to fetch or something similar). Google has live humans going through and making sure that the people who sign up to populate product reviews are legitimate (spammers try to push crap comments to the system).

No they didn't (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40076703)

They didn't stablish any fact yet. That happens during the trial, and they are trying to get into an agreement to avoid the trial.

MS failed in the marketplace; now to the courtroom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074543)

What this means is that Microsoft, having failed to compete in the marketplace, now attempts to compete via the courtroom.

On a lighter note.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074757)

I have been commenting about this for many times now.

In the end it is easy.... Google is no more google, it lost everything it was standing for just before it went into china and their market.
I worked theree for over 4 years inside the datacenters, I knew streetview excuses were bullshit (that they didn't know and it was a mistake) and all that + a bag of chips.

In the end it is really easy..... evil gets away cause of ignorant all knowing selfish minds (read comments and those on previous issues).

In the end it is really simple..... Everyone thinks google is great and has not much harm ment. While the other end of this is much more accurate and real for current time and situation. So as long as people keeo their head up their ass the light will not be seen! :)

Short story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40074849)

Short story: Google may be using their corporate size to create a monopoly but no-one has checked. Former top-dogs Microsoft and friends are whining that (business) life isn't fair.

Nothing to see here. Move along, now.

Re:Short story (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075377)

the "check" is court proceedings. before that it's allegations. if google changes it's ways so that those allegations don't need to be checked.. then it's less likely they will sue google for it. duh.

one word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075021)

GREECE

complainants flipflopping (2)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40075379)

Entertaining isn't it. Not long since the their competitors were bitching about Googles own and paid results not being conspicuously enough marked. Google changed that and it didn't magically drive business to the complainers. Now the same leeches have told the EU that marking them conspicuously gives Google an unfair advantage!

After wading through 400 pages of self serving complaints from Microsoft fronts and ineffective businesses it seems the EU aren't really convinced they need to leap into action. 2 vague 'it's unfair' claims they've basically asked Google to justify, discredit or promise not to do, 2 contractual limitations they need to remove that probably won't noticeably affect their business.

The complainants still can't accept that they have to fight for market share by being good at what they do, that they're failing all by themselves.

freelancer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40075531)

just as Kyle said I'm impressed that any body can get paid $4404 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this page makecash16.com

Stupid EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40076867)

The EU is always seeking to make the users' experience less. I'm sick of all this antitrust bullshit. You could tell me all day that my search results are biased and you know what, I don't give a flying fuck because I'm finding EXACTLY WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR. And as for all the ads? How many people actually even glance at ads on the internet, let alone click on the stupid things. Big fucking deal. I don't watch commercials on TV at home because I already pay out the ass to have TV service at all. I won't look at internet ads for the same reason (in addition to the fact I am not surfing to read ads and if you are, you're an idiot). I pick up a magazine or a newspaper, I read ARTICLES, I don't read the ads, and I am willing to bet that the majority of people are in the same boat as me. Yes, what I am saying pretty much sucks if you are in the advertising business... get a real job. Something productive.

It would put a big smile on my face if Google and MS were to announce they are totally pulling out of EU markets due to all the bullshit and enormous fines. Let the EU use another OS, browser and search engine. Fuck 'em!

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