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Google Poised To Settle EU Anti-Trust Probe

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the working-it-out dept.

EU 55

Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting that concessions by the Internet giant have paved the way for a resolution to the long-standing European Union investigation into Google's alleged anti-competitive practices. From the article: 'A settlement with the European Union's regulator would mean that Google, the world's biggest internet search engine, would escape a possible fine of as much as $5 billion or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue. Such an outcome would mirror the company's success in the United States last year where it received only a mild reprimand from the Federal Trade Commission, which said Google had not manipulated its website results following a 19-month investigation.'"

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10% of Revenue! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46108347)

Clearly Google should get into a less risky business, like laundering money for drug cartels, if they are facing potential penalties of that magnitude...

Re:10% of Revenue! (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46108375)

They should rather open up an investment bank. If you fuck up there, you actually GET money from the government.

Re:10% of Revenue! (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46108421)

Not only that, you get bailouts and get to bitch about the moral hazard of any aid to people who aren't you on the finance-fluffer TV networks. How's that for a sweet gig?

Re:10% of Revenue! (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46108737)

And when the people start to hate you, you can write a column comparing them to the Nazis.

Re:10% of Revenue! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46118601)

I'm fairly sure the main reason why bank managers are not strung up by the dozen is simply that none of them is worth even the threat of a nanosecond of jail time.

Re:10% of Revenue! (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 9 months ago | (#46108481)

Amen

Re:10% of Revenue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108429)

I was very interested in a money laundering case in my country, Sweden, where such cases (of course) are rare. I learnt that the "normal" rate for money laundering in countries where corruption is minimal was 50-90 % so 10 % is a pretty damn cheap option...

Re:10% of Revenue! (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46108707)

I learnt that the "normal" rate for money laundering in countries where corruption is minimal was 50-90 %

That 50-90% is revenue not profit.

Re:10% of Revenue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46116667)

Clearly Google should get into a less risky business, like laundering money for drug cartels, if they are facing potential penalties of that magnitude...

Clearly the EU and its regulations body are idiots, if your going to say about handing out 10% fines from companies global revenue, then turn around and cut back door deals so these companies continue to get off with a slap on the wrist. I'm curious to see what happens 'if' they get caught again, I am guessing it will be more of the same, cut a deal get little to no fine, anti-trust goes on as it always has.

What will Marissa Meyer think of this? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 9 months ago | (#46108377)

I wonder what that Yahoo boss thinks of Google, now that she's out of there.

One thing I can guarantee: This [settlement] won't be enough for Microsoft and its ilk.

Re:What will Marissa Meyer think of this? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#46108457)

I assume that she's planning to reach a buggy, half-assed, and embarrassingly purple antitrust settlement with the EU a few months from now...

Underscoring it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108443)

It's impossible to manipulate what is already being manipulated.

Re:Underscoring it... (-1, Troll)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 9 months ago | (#46108541)

It's impossible to manipulate what is already being manipulated.

You haven't met Hillary Clinton

Re:Underscoring it... (-1, Troll)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 9 months ago | (#46109033)

What I get modded down for having a go at Hillary Clinton! Did I miss moose hunting season or something?

Re:Underscoring it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46110451)

The comment was both completely offtopic and insulted women by implying that since the incompetent Marrissa Mayer is a woman, Clinton would be as well because she's a woman.

In short, Ian, you're a fucking troll. Mods, please moderate the above two comments -1 troll and mine -1 offtopic. Thank you.

And Ian, lay off the crack pipe.

this 1s goat5ex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108455)

ar3 a pathetic impaired

Better idea (5, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | about 9 months ago | (#46108543)

The EU should increase funding of research into open search technologies.
It is unacceptable that the world's searching and data-mining technology is for the better part originating from one country.
(Yes, this means more projects like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q... [wikipedia.org] )

I'm still waiting for a P2P search engine that is efficient, secure, and returns useful results.

Re:Better idea (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 9 months ago | (#46108597)

I'm still waiting for a P2P search engine that is efficient, secure, and returns useful results.

So am I. So are many. Google is monolithic, and not to be trusted. Seriously: why don't we talk about creating a start-up ?

Re:Better idea (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 9 months ago | (#46108643)

Seriously: why don't we talk about creating a start-up ?

This could be a proposal for Kickstarter. It may be the first crowd-funded project that requires a significant amount of preliminary research though.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108761)

This could be a proposal for Kickstarter. It may be the first crowd-funded project that requires a significant amount of preliminary research though.

Slashdot/Digg/Reddit/whatever style arguments under links that are upvoted/downvoted, with some sort of sane search thrown over the top. Not only do you get real people looking at potential search results, but you get reviews on the quality of the content.

Give me your histper brogrammers and venture capital, kthx.

Re:Better idea (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 9 months ago | (#46109259)

Send me an email if you are interested in any way. I have access to research ( work at a national R & D institute in Europe )

Re:Better idea (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46109321)

Google have the advantage of some of the most experienced researchers in the field, and a ridiculous amount of hardware capability. Also, they can afford to throw tons of money at long-shot ideas, knowing that only a few will pan out.

Re:Better idea (1)

Branciforte (2437662) | about 9 months ago | (#46122029)

You'll need about 1,000,000,000$ US for your first datacenter. All of the hardware needs to be in close proximity to get reasonable communication latency in your distributed indexing/processing.

There is a reason why competing search engines aren't popping up left and right.

Re:Better idea (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 9 months ago | (#46108767)

I was looking into the YaCY P2P search engine ( http://yacy.net/ [yacy.net] âZ ), but I have not given it a go yet. Have you tried that one? What did you find about it that was bad?

Re:Better idea (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46108817)

The "antitrust" is in the advertising, travel, and sales markets; their success in Search is just the tool Google used to dominate those fields. By analogy, Microsoft used the dominance Windows to make Internet Explorer the dominant browser; the fixes had to be in the Browser field, not operating systems.

Tiresome (0, Troll)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108601)

For my part, I'm really tired of this Euro-trash attempting to wring billions of dollars out of American companies just because they can. Google, Microsoft, etc. should just pull out of there, and let them fend for themselves if they're going to get stolen from by corrupt governments looking for a quick buck.

Re:Tiresome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108647)

For my part, I'm really tired of this Euro-trash attempting to wring billions of dollars out of American companies just because they can. Google, Microsoft, etc. should just pull out of there, and let them fend for themselves if they're going to get stolen from by corrupt governments looking for a quick buck.

I think EU would have been less concerned about it if American companies didn't share the data with their government that used the data in an anti-competitive manner.
If they had to choose, where do you think Google and Microsoft would pull out from the US or a market that is twice as big?

Re:Tiresome (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108667)

Well, if the "there" is willing to attempt to take 10% of their gross receipts away from them, I'd say that they would probably abandon the "Land of the Pirates" and come back home and make some money.

As for sharing data with the gov't, you speak of it as if they had a choice... Hint: The choice is an illusion when you're dealing with something as powerful as the US Gov't. Yeah, we need to make the gov't smaller - at least the GOP / right wing of the gov't knows that. Talk to our leftists / communists that want to make the gov't big enough to rule the world.

Re: Tiresome (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108651)

Shut it Brin. Go play with your manly goggles.

Re:Tiresome (1)

egladil (1640419) | about 9 months ago | (#46108663)

If Google, Microsoft etc choose to do business in the EU they'll have to follow the laws there. As you say, they can pull out. But as long as they choose to stay they'll have to live with the laws there or face penalties if they break them. It applies equally to all companies doing business there, domestic and foreign. The list of European companies brought up on anti-competiive charges is quite long, it just doesn't get quite as much international attention.

Re:Tiresome (0)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108809)

Except the charges are, in all likelihood, as big of BS as those against Microsoft where leftist Clinton persecuted Microsoft all thru the 90's, only to have the whole thing quietly go away as soon as GWB was elected. Its just the left performing piracy against the big "bad" businessmen. Tired of it, I say.

Re:Tiresome (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108825)

Doesn't help my mood on this even a little bit that the Euros perform piracy against their own big "bad" businessmen, either. Gov'ts should be _helping_ industries, not persecuting them. And we wonder what the huge unemployment rates are all about? I don't wonder at all, I expect it with behavior such as this from the gov't buccaneers.

Re:Tiresome (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46108915)

Yes let the businesses do whatever they want, kill people, but dont ever punish them!!!

Re: Tiresome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108983)

I hate it when Google kills my family. Nuance truly is dead.

Re: Tiresome (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46109029)

My point was that he made an overly broad statement that businesses should always be helped and never punished for what they did, sarcasm is apparently dead..

Re:Tiresome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46108991)

Gov'ts should be _helping_ industries, not persecuting them.

In the case of antitrust it is a conflict of interest between a business and the people.
I think you are completely wrong, the government should side with the people before it sides with corporate interests.
In the case where it is a conflict between a foreign company and a local company the government should first see to what is best for its local people. Do the people and the foreign company have common interests, otherwise, side with the local company.

Just because governments have a tendency to do it the other way around doesn't mean that we shouldn't appreciate when they do what is best for their people.

Re:Tiresome (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46111137)

How can the gov't be siding with the people when, again as in the Microsoft IE browser case, the company was giving me a FREE browser if I bought their OS? I mean, it was FREE! The gov't that tries to muck with that is NOT doing _ME_ any favors, its acting on some other company's behalf, quite possibly to my detriment depending on whether it turned out that Microsoft might have been forced to charge, say, $24.99 for their browser just to make things equal. Didn't turn out that way, but why screw with the giving away of something? Again, I say it doesn't work in MY interest.

Re:Tiresome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46109001)

Man, what are you smoking? Gimme some. Companies are to serve people, not the other way around, bitch.

Re:Tiresome (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 9 months ago | (#46108831)

The primary complaintants in this settlement proposal include Microsoft, Yahoo, Bing and many other European and American concerns.

Companies, large and small, regularly engage in behavior meant to keep the competition at bay.

The most successful are not the altruistic ones.

Re:Tiresome (0)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108933)

Except that the "behavior meant to keep the competition at bay" is too often offering more functionality for the same price, as was the Internet Explorer fiasco. The competition there couldn't build a better browser than IE, so they use the gov't to tear down IE so's that they can compete with it more easily. Total BS, in my opinion. You can think of it as you like. Such action, tho, is detrimental to the public, which is always looking for more performance for less money, and deserve to get it. Having gov't working at cross-purposes to the good of the citizens really, really sucks in my opinion.

Re:Tiresome (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46108987)

Again no, it was not. IE was targeted because they took one artifical monopoly and used it to gain leverage in another market creating an even more artificial monopoly. The competition had better browsers on their own, but could not hook into the OS because MS would not allow it to allow them a lead. That is anticompetitive behavior.

Re:Tiresome (1)

Gunboat_Diplomat (3390511) | about 9 months ago | (#46109959)

but could not hook into the OS because MS would not allow it to allow them a lead.

If you by "hook into the OS" mean anything technical, that is not what the EU case against Microsoft on IE was about at all. It was about Microsoft having an unfair advantage in the browser market because they could bundle their browser with their market dominating operating system, and the competitors couldn't.

It was only about the OS as a distribution channel competitors didn't have access to, not any form of technical integration advantage or the IE was "deeply integrated into the core of the OS" myth (btw. on modern Windows exactly similar to Safari/WebKit in OSX). This is also why the browser ballot that forced Microsoft to offer competitors browsers as an option at install was the EU solution. They made no changes to Windows or IE or changed the way any browser behave on Windows, they just gave them distribution, as that was the complaint to begin with.

Re:Tiresome (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46110711)

He was speaking of the US cases, not the EU.

Re:Tiresome (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46109117)

I don't think you understand any of the cases and accusations involved. The issue is not that someone dominated the market with a better product; the issue is that someone dominates the market with one superior product (Search, Windows) and then uses that dominant position to ensure the success of a whole bunch of inferior products, or simply the products their partners want to sell, thereby harming customers.

Re:Tiresome (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46108869)

The US Gov't, under leftist administration in the 90's, persecuted Microsoft for providing too much functionality in Windows, if you can believe it. They integrated Internet Explorer into the operating system, and that was somehow unfair to the competition. Boo-hoo... build a better browser and they will come, as has happened with Chrome and some others. Its not like the OS prohibited the installation of another browser, it just provided a free one. That was nonsense. I don't think I need to look at the particulars of this exercise in torturing the big "bad" businessmen to be able to simply assume it is BS. If it was really harmful, I'd think I'd be hearing a lot of complaints from people. I don't know anyone that complains about Google. They complain about Bing, which has been caught simply sending their search requests to Google, and then repackaging them with the Bing interface. But not Google. Google is just where the money is for these pirate gov'ts.

Re:Tiresome (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46108905)

Nice revisionist history buddy.. The problem was not that integrated it into the OS, but that they did so without allowing others to hook into those same hooks, and refused to let us, the consumers remove it. There were other FASTER browsers at the time, but you cannot compete with a monopoly who has hooked their stuff into their system. People WERE complaining, it was not like they just woke up one day and said "hmm I think I wanna target MS today for anticompetitive action"

Re:Tiresome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46109283)

A browser does not need any "hooks" to work. A browser has nothing to do with the OS. IE was just essential a rending engine DLL (mshtml.dll) and an executable that used the rendering engine (iexplore.exe or msie.exe . cant remember :P ) that existed *OUTSIDE* the OS. Also Windows worked just fine when IE was removed - indeed the judge in the case showed that such a thing could be done with no problems. No version of IE has ever been integrated with the OS. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of your anti-ms trolling.

Re:Tiresome (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46111071)

Exactly so. A browser is just another program, and XP would allow the installation of another browser just fine.

Meanwhile, my own gov't was attempting to diminish my computing experience by having to either install IE manually, or some other browser manually, rather than having it just appear after the OS is installed. IOW, its tougher on _ME_ as a customer just to fix a non-problem, when other browser-makers could just have their stuff loaded manually on top of IE. Both IE and their browser would work. But no, the Gov't was after the honey-pot of a big fine over a triviality. That's what the Euros are likely up to, as well. And other makers are complaining? Sure they are, when they can get the gov't to "take down" their competition so that they can prevail in the market instead, sure they're going to dream up something to bitch about.

Like I said, I'm tired of it. Google / Microsoft / Etc. should just leave...

Re:Tiresome (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 months ago | (#46112109)

okay you obviously have a few of the facts a bit twisted

1 the MSIE exe was made part of the Windows Explorer exe in later versions of Windows

2 MS actively paid different sites to include MSIE only content and to NOT support anything not MSIE

3 MS used unpublished apis to ensure that anything not MSIE would not be able to do some of the stuff MSIE could

4 they deliberately withheld copies of WINDOWS from OEMs that did not sign contracts barring them from bundling any other browser .

the exact details can be found on Groklaw

Re:Tiresome (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 9 months ago | (#46112747)

MS argued in that same case that not all of IE was actually removed, so no, dont let the facts get in your way.

Also IE was more than just a rendering engine, it allowed them to integrate an whole host of features from network sharing to file exploration.

Re:Tiresome (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46109137)

How can you "build a better browser and they will come" when reliance on Internet Explorer is built into the operating system itself? I mean, Microsoft actually argued - this was their own defense! - that it was so fundamental to the operating system that you simply could not replace it with someone else' browser.

Re:Tiresome (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 9 months ago | (#46109951)

Why do you need to replace it? You can just install another browser? How many people uninstall IE even now?

Re:Tiresome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46112175)

At the time, IE was the number one attack vector for windows machine. How much i would have liked to remove it. So much hours saved in stupid virus related support call.

now if the universe could get rid of flash and the java plugin...

e.u (0)

Tim Leath (3514895) | about 9 months ago | (#46108977)

google should'nt count on getting a soft verdict,some of us have already contacted our euro mep's etc to put pressure on commision to not allow google to just walk away with a slapped wrist,we want proper fines that will actualy hurt them in the wallet and send a signal to other(mainly american)corps that we will not allow such behaviour in the first place and if they get caught expect to face punitive costs,just like the americans do to any foreign firm that looks like theyvcan be forced/blackmailed into handing over cash/assets,like BP etc.cuased by two yank firms but only bp forced into paying every cent thatvcan be extracted either legaly or criminaly. usual american ddouble standards hypocrisy. fingers crossed our pressure has an effect and google get clobbered hard,this was a decision made at the very top of google,they knew and understood exactlyvwhat they where doing and the risks if they got caught,they decided the extra revenue was worth the risk,so dont bleat about "unfair" treatment of american firms,these are some of the eggs hatching from the blatantvcriminal behaviour of lots of american firms recently,the birds are coming home to roost now,the e.u public have had enough of being yankees cash cows and watching them steal our hard earned cash withoutveven paying any tax in e.u. its the start of a bad slide for american firms trading in europe,we have had enough. expect a lot more bad news,we will happily bring in protectionist bills here just as america already does.
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