×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Experiences EU Antitrust Friction Over Doubleclick

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-tough-trying-to-take-over-the-world dept.

Google 62

An anonymous reader writes "Here in the US, the Google purchase of Doubleclick is old news. Despite a few hiccups, the news of April and May seems well in the past. In the European Union, though, the discussion begins anew again as Google seeks permission from EU antitrust regulators. From the article: 'The European Commission said it had set a review deadline of October 26, when it could approve the deal, give a two-week extension or open an in-depth, four-month investigation ... The Commission has already sent questionnaires asking competitors and customers what they think about the deal. Google has already filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and with the Australian competition regulator.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

62 comments

So (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20717973)

They've found that they have friction bubbles on their buttplug, eh? Serves them right for being dicks.

Asking the competitors what they think.. (1)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20717979)

Is there any reason why they would say anything other than "this will hurt us competitively"? It only makes business sense to prevent Google from acquiring whenever you can. This seems equivalent to the FCC asking the telecoms how they feel about Google buying/leasing some airwaves.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (0, Troll)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20717997)

It only makes business sense to prevent Google from acquiring whenever you can. This seems equivalent to the FCC asking the telecoms how they feel about Google buying/leasing some airwaves.

The questionnaire does not make sense, but it's only now as the EU Antitrust commission starts attacking geeks' favorite Google (DoubleClick) and Apple (iTunes / DRM) you'll see how the EU Antitrust commission operates.

The bias though which the community spins EU's actions is hilarious, but I see this is consistent to what they did with Microsoft, charging them nearly a billion because they shipped a video player in their OS.

I've a question: who'll protect us from the monopoly of the EU? Did anyone ask YOU if you want them protecting your rights in THIS particular fashion? Did someone ask you when EU slapped VAT and sales tax on online purchases? Do I have a choice, short of moving to a different continent.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718067)

It was slightly more then just shipping a video player with their OS.
There was more then one charge you know?

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (3, Insightful)

Super_Z (756391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718243)

I've a question: who'll protect us from the monopoly of the EU? Did anyone ask YOU if you want them protecting your rights in THIS particular fashion?
The EU anti-competitive laws are set up to regulate the EU common market. The common market was set up as a multinational treaty. It is your goverments fault that it did not consult you before it entered this treaty, not the organization that was a result of this treaty. If you have issues with article 82 in this treaty, then you need to address your own goverment, which then in turn can either move to somehow renegotiate the treay or withdraw from it.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (3, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718293)

The bias though which the community spins EU's actions is hilarious, but I see this is consistent to what they did with Microsoft, charging them nearly a billion because they shipped a video player in their OS.
Look who spins!
Microsoft is still being investigated because they continue to spoil the playing field for others.
In Europe, just like the USofA, a company in a near-monopoly situation has greater obligations than a start up, Microsoft continues to challenge that notion.
Of course the EU commission could have picked better examples, like opening the specs to allow access to NTFS and supporting Samba.

I've a question: who'll protect us from the monopoly of the EU? Did anyone ask YOU if you want them protecting your rights in THIS particular fashion?
I feel very happy we have an active EU commission.
The problem is they see these things as a legal challenge while I would like more technical issues like interoperability being discussed.

Did someone ask you when EU slapped VAT and sales tax on online purchases? Do I have a choice, short of moving to a different continent.
I would find it weird, even unacceptable, when internet companies would have a tax advantage over a regular one.
So charging the local/national VAT at the place of destination sounds, as far as any sales tax goes, really fair for all.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718317)

I've a question: who'll protect us from the monopoly of the EU? Did anyone ask YOU if you want them protecting your rights in THIS particular fashion? Did someone ask you when EU slapped VAT and sales tax on online purchases? Do I have a choice, short of moving to a different continent.

They ask me, the European citizen. The candidate I voted for ran on that platform, and is now doing what he promised when I voted for him.

If you disagree, vote for someone else.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (-1, Troll)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718361)

The candidate I voted for ran on that platform, and is now doing what he promised when I voted for him.

Hehe, you're so sure of yourself, that I'll have to ask you: who you voted for, what he promised and what he did. So I check myself.

I'm very curious of what you described happened actually in reality.

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718395)

What is your point?

Re:Asking the competitors what they think.. (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718513)

Probably that most politicians say one thing and does to other... Or that it's impossible to find a politician that agree with everything you want... It especially hard to find any politicians with interest in computers etc... Since the majority of votes don't care about these issues, nobody borders to have a clear policy on these issues... Though I as a European would say that like the EU. Maybe it's democracy could be better... And once in a while you may argue that EU officials have a lot of power, and the national media doesn't really care much about EU either... - But sometimes it's also good that the voters doesn't decide everything :)

How is it anti-competitive? (3, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20717985)

I could set-up my own ad sense / double click service right now at cheaper rates then Google offers and there is nothing they could do to stop me.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20717993)

Please do.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718003)

Yes you could.

But you would have problems getting advertisers since you have a small viewer range.
And you would have problems getting sites to use your system, since you don't payout much yet, lacking advertisers.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718021)

That's the same as any start-up..

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20726737)

The counter argument is if it's so easy, then why would Google trouble themselves to purchase Double-click? Especially since Google already has their own existing advertising programme... so all they need to do is, extend it to take their competitors customers???

So I guess Google's intent with purchasing Double-click is actually to purchase Double-clicks customers.

That said, I find it hard to find a good argument against. It *is* comparatively easy to setup a similar business, so if Google subsequently *did* use their dominant position in the market to ratchet up the prices, startups would be able to step in; thus, consumers do [or would] have choice.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718013)

I could set-up my own ad sense / double click service right now at cheaper rates then Google offers and there is nothing they could do to stop me.
Do you really think that Google has a fleet of aircraft that they only use for photographing cities?

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (3, Informative)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718087)

Noone is saying it's anti-competitive. They're saying it might be anti-competitive. There's less choice for the consumer. Prior to Google buying DoubleClick someone wanting to purchase adverts had a few choices between 3 similarly sized networks (Google, DoubleClick and Yahoo) plus a handful of smaller players. Since the merger there's one behemoth and noone even close to the same sort of size, and consequently noone in a position to offer the same sort of service. If Google wanted to they could reduce their prices too (economies of scale coming into effect). They have effectively bought themselves into the position of a monopoly. All the EU are doing is checking if that's really the case or if the market is still open for consumers to shop around.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#20720565)

All the EU are doing is checking if that's really the case or if the market is still open for consumers to shop around.
In this case you need to distinguish between "consumers" (i.e. you or me) and "customers" (i.e. people wishing to advertise online). And the question (that the EU will be asking) is whether people (in the EU) wanting to advertise or host advertising online will get screwed over by this deal.

No idea what the outcome of this investigation will be though. One question I'd have would be whether the online market be considered to be distinct from the real-world market? And would scale effects online prevent other companies from becoming new advertising servers in this space? (Guess that's two questions...)

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#20728543)

All the EU are doing is checking if that's really the case or if the market is still open for consumers to shop around.

In this case you need to distinguish between "consumers" (i.e. you or me) and "customers" (i.e. people wishing to advertise online).

No, the term "consumers" still applies here. Google produces advertising opportunities; advertisers consume them. That makes the advertisers consumers in this context.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718411)

I could set up my own OS right now and sell it cheaper then Google offers and there is nothing they could do to stop me. Now of course an OS is slightly harder to build then an ad sense service, however the existence of Linux and Apple hasn't stopped the EU going after Microsoft.

Re:How is it anti-competitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20720991)

Yours would be the US position - that it doesn't matter if there's a dominant player as long as others can compete, and therefore US law is about protecting competition, not protecting competitors. The EC, on the other hand, explicitly said a few days ago in the wake of the MS decision that their objective is to ensure competition by protecting *competitors*, and that the best way to do that is to ensure that there are no dominant players in a given market. I don't know what the EU will decide in this case, but they WILL begin scrutinizing slashdotter's favorites with ever-increasing viligence.

You guys started this thing, now you'll have to live with it.
Go read Malcolm X's statement regarding "chickens coming home to roost" and the context in which he said that in order to get a clue.
Were you really so naive as to think that once government forces were unleashed against Microsoft that they would stop there? "Young fool, only now, at the end, do you understand."

Vigilant Spotlight = Less Trouble Ahead? (1)

Nitroadict (1005509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20717989)

One hopes such spotlights (or prospects thereof) will help deter Google from the temptations of the dark side... I'm sure those who remember using Google when it first came out simply to find better image galleries would like to still believe in the "we're not evil" tagline ;D.

EU is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718011)

Name one comparable alternative to Adsense (in terms of revenue per clickthrough). There is none. There is Yahoo that is closed for EU and Microsoft that is very picky and pays low.

Re:EU is right (3, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718151)

This doesn't mean Google is anticompetitive, more like the competition is incompetent.
It isn't Google who closed EU for Yahoo, and it isn't Google who set M$'s business plan.

Re:EU is right (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20721793)

Yes but they're buying the only viable competitor and that could make Google the only choice in the market, granting them a monopoly.

Re:EU is right (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20723747)

That is not a monopoly. There is nothing stopping anybody from creating a brand new business generating ads like Doubleclick. Only governments and thugs get in the way of new business/innovation from occurring (yes I'm referring to the EU Commision).

Re:EU is right (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20725561)

Microsoft isn't a monopoly either then. The laws trigger on someone taking the majority of the market, not the whole market because otherwise a company could keep a puppet competitor around to avoid monopoly status and because one company holding the vast majority of the market is bad enough already.

misleading headline (5, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718025)

The European Commission said it had set a review deadline of October 26, when it could approve the deal, give a two-week extension or open an in-depth, four-month investigation

It's not friction unless the EU doesn't approve the deal on October 26. Until then, this is normal process. I would question who this "anonymous reader" who submitted the misleading headline is.

Re:misleading headline (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718139)

Yeah, i agree. I looked hard to find any 'friction' that already happened.
And the anonymous reader is most likely a M$ shill.

Hey!!! Where's my sensationalist headline? (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718855)

Hey, this headline isn't exciting at all! I mean, why do you think I come to Slashdot in the first place, if not for the sensationalism?? Well, to be sure, the headline spuriously adds this thing about "friction" just because the EU says, "Okay, we'll check out this Google purchase of Doubleclick and will tell you next month whether there might be problems," but "experiences friction" just doesn't have the same punchy feel to it.

After all, when a police bring in the apparent sender of a bomb threat and release him after a few hours, Slashdot says, "Innocent man incarcerated for running Tor server!" And when a game counterfeiter gets arrested, the headline says, "All he did was mod the console and he got arrested!"

The Slashdot staff should do a better job here. The headline should say something like, "EU attacks Google with Doubleclick review." Or, for an even better effect, use the Cavuto mark [newshounds.us] , as in: "EU reviews Doubleclick. Will Google collapse ? "

Yeesh, without these sensationalist headlines, how is Slashdot going to gain ad revenue by attracting more readers who use Firefox and Adblock Plus?

google's anti-trust problems (0, Troll)

daniel.waterfield (960460) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718027)

Hm, don't you think this EU anti-trust venture is getting a tad out of hand now? I'm usually a fan of the eu, but it's getting to the point where it's stifling business' right to succeed, if they wish to help the start ups and the string of failed projects, then maybe cash would help?

Re:google's anti-trust problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718125)

business' right to succeed

What about other businesses' right not to be illegally cut out of the market?

Google has already succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718153)

I'm usually a fan of the eu, but it's getting to the point where it's stifling business' right to succeed

Google has already succeeded, and is already an utter behemoth with a license to print money.

It doesn't need any further support for its "right to succeed". If anything, it needs to be curtailed so that other businesses can reap a measure of success as well.

Re:google's anti-trust problems (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718163)

What is getting out of hand?
The EU has never stated they have a problem with this purchase, they are only investigating as is their duty to keep business in it's jurisdiction fair.
Monopolies and similar have always hurt people.
In this particular case (the result of Google+Double Click) it's maybe not directly disadvantageous for the regular consumer but it's potentially a problem for companies depending on internet advertising.
And due to their sheer size they might make competition al but impossible.

Re:google's anti-trust problems (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718213)

Hm, don't you think this EU anti-trust venture is getting a tad out of hand now?


No.

Re:google's anti-trust problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718301)

I wish my potential customers would stop infringing on my right to succeed. Maybe I should sue them.

Re:google's anti-trust problems (2, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718381)

I was going to argue with you, but I clicked your website (to see what country you're in). I don't want to argue any more; you're hot, wear black and have similar musical taste to me.

(Well, anyway: the EU is helping startups here, by allowing fairer competition and reducing the likelihood of a single company excluding small businesses from the market. They seem to give grants to small businesses as well [europa.eu] .) :-)

A European company? (0, Flamebait)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718427)

I wonder if the EU would be so vigilant if Google was started and owned by a pair of Europeans?

Re:A European company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718447)

Are you implying that the EU might have some sort of 'bias' against American companies?!

Re:A European company? (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718463)

If only there were some way to look up past decisions, such as a web page which might return a list of results, when presented with a query.

Yes - the EU fines lots of companies regardless of where they're based. Just because the DOJ has no bollocks, doesn't mean everyone else has to roll over for big companies.

Re:A European company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718503)

No. In fact it would become illegal for any EU citizen to use a competitor's search engine and service. Europeans would flock to the streets, raising their right hands and screaming "SIEG HEIL" while merrily raping kids and burning Jewish shops.

You know, Master Race, that stuff they love so much.

Re:A European company? (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718533)

I recall two big Scandinavian dairies merge... The Danish competition authorizes spend a long time before allowing the deal... There's many examples, many are handled by the different national competition authorities...

Re:A European company? (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718543)

I wonder if the EU would be so vigilant if Google was started and owned by a pair of Europeans?
Actually, yes. Most antitrust action in the EU has been concerning European companies, not outside ones. And if anything, the commission tends to be harsher towards those than others (since it violates the idea of free trade within the EU).

Re:A European company? (1)

mce (509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718761)

Oh yes! Look up the Volvo-Scania case, for instance. And that's just one example of many.

I wonder why Americans always become so defensive when an US firm is has to deal with non-US policy makers. No, the rest of the world is not out to get you.

Re:A European company? (3, Informative)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718883)

That would explain why the EU only ever investigates foreign companies...

Oh wait, what's that? they investigate Foreign and EU companies.. Oh
The US investigates US and foreign companies for this kind of behaviour too?
Oh and the commission is to ensure that *customers* don't get a poor deal? its not about promoting one company over another?

My god, how can we live with this horrible intrusion into the free market, which only effects all companies?

Wait a minute - how come you didn't complain when VW or SAS or Maersk Air, or Hoechst AG, or Peaugot were fined? See what a 2 minute web search can do? That's from a single page, all in one year, take a look at the EU website and see how many fines have been issued against EU and foreign companies. Whilst you are at it, take a look at how many companies have been investigated, because at the end of the day, all that is happening is that a deal that Google has put together that clearly *does* change the on-line advertising market, the EU wants to make sure that that change will not be detrimental to consumers. Hardly a protectionist and anti-American attack (OR should I say that it is not commercial-terrorism?). The EU *is* in part there to encourage and grow EU business, it is also there to protect its own internal market (see the tariffs and penalties imposed against foreign nations, in the same way as they are imposed on the EU), and if it didn't exist Google would be facing investigations not by one commission, but by the individual bodies of each of the current member states (I'm sure some are investigating anyway).

I'm sick and tired of US bashing in the EU and EU bashing from the US. Much of what is discussed in the media in terms of economics is nothing short of propaganda (Although I must say that the US is better at propaganda, or maybe European's are better at seeing through it), see what we have had recently with china, or the reaction in the UK to the US sub prime credit collapse.

If people could put aside their national bias for a day, we might be able to make this free-market globalisation thing work, but that is not likely, instead we will take taxpayers money and use it to prop up ailing businesses (as if they have a *right* to survive) or use it to prevent others from entering our markets. That's the US and Europe (and much of the rest of the world). Either practice capitalism, or scrap it and work out a way of organising an economy that benefits the citizens of the world rather than a few mega-corporations.

Bit of a rant, but come on, this is so far a non story, for the EU it is the sensible thing to do, it s not anti-American, it is ensuring that the consumer (thats me and you) get a good deal.

Re:A European company? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 6 years ago | (#20719065)

I wonder if the EU would be so vigilant if Google was started and owned by a pair of Europeans?
Yes.

Re:A European company? (2, Informative)

oliderid (710055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20726597)

Yes, Few years ago, the EU didn't approve a merger between two big French industrial industries.
Schneider and Legrand. Schneider lost billions in this affair (If I remember well, they had to resell shares of something). But the EU court voted in favor of Schneider and the EU had to compensate a part of this loss.

http://www.arcweb.com/txtlstvw.aspx?LstID=2a4b621b-e581-471b-9f78-98c4f01409c6 [arcweb.com]

There are others like France Telecom forced to resell a subsidiary in Belgium. Merger in Austria forbidden, and plenty of others cases that don't interest US citizens. You only see the top of the Iceberg.

I really do think that it is good that the EU keeps an eye on the free market. Monopolies are a natural tendency of companies. They are not good for a vibrant free market, full of competitions, innovations and fair prices. And this example shows you that the decision may be overruled too.

Regulator approval.. (1)

Pc_Madness (984705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718465)

Does that mean Google has to ask every country whether or not if it approves the buyout... or just the pain in the arse ones?

Re:Regulator approval.. (1)

tkinnun0 (756022) | more than 6 years ago | (#20719125)

Surely not every country. Only the ones it wants to do business in.

Re:Regulator approval.. (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 6 years ago | (#20720581)

Also keep in mind that Google has a European HQ in Dublin. In a limited but real sense, within Europe Google *is* a European company. Of course they'll be subject to EU regulations and laws.

What's the fuss about anyway? (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718475)

What's the fuss about anyway?
So Google buy Double-Click. What for?
Isn't a piece of spyware anyway? At least Google is using it that way. I can't really see a difference between a company forcing targetted results onto unsuspecting netters.

Just my rant. Sorry.

EU is just taxing innovation that is not their own (-1, Troll)

postmortem (906676) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718715)

This is tax on innovation. EU, and all its members can't compete with big US software companies, so they developed this devious way to take away their profit and give it to their own, in a hope they'll catch up.

The Google's doubleclick and Microsoft's Windows Media Player are just means to get the money, the reason was stated above.

Re:EU is just taxing innovation that is not their (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718789)

Thank you for demonstrating the fact that you have no clue! Well done!

Re:EU is just taxing innovation that is not their (1)

Just because I'm an (847583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20718857)

Maybe postmortem is the anonymous reader who submitted the article and feels the discussion is moving away from where s/he was hoping it would go... sort of firing literary maneuvering (sp?) thrusters.

Or postmortem's a moron.

Looks like Microsoft is involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20718841)

Microsoft in row over lobby tactics

Microsoft is at the centre of an embarrassing row over an attempt by a lobby firm strongly linked with the Seattle computer giant to rally opposition against rival Google's proposed acqusition of internet marketing firm DoubleClick.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/microsoft/Story/0,,2174795,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

Yuo Fail I7... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20719221)

as the premiere All major marketing do, and with any Corpse turned over member. GNNA (GAY superior to slow, GNAA and support own lube, beverage, asshole about.' One working on various To get some eye but now they're variations on the users. Surprise is dying.Things the official GAY BSD fanatics? I've and coders
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...