European Commission Sends New Statement of Objections to Google

BY Heather Greenfield
July 14, 2016

Brussels, Belgium — The European Commission has announced a supplementary statement of objections in the Google comparison shopping case and new statement of objections about Google’s ‘AdSense’ service — a search ads placement service for third party websites.

CCIA has more than forty years experience arguing for open and competitive markets. The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe Vice President James Waterworth:

“The time taken by the Commission to produce it supplementary statement of objections shows that the Commission is thorough, but that its case has important weaknesses. Competition authorities and courts across Europe and around the world have repeatedly held that there is nothing anti-competitive in product developments that are clearly aimed at improving the overall search quality for consumers. The Commission refers to evidence that Google harms the market; it will be important to show what this evidence is as our research shows a thriving market with record levels of investment into ecommerce in Europe.”

“The Commission is concerned that consumers may not see the most relevant results. However, who should decide whether a price comparison site, a brand’s own website or Google’s own service is more relevant? As the UK court noted in the case brought by Streetmap against Google’s mapping service, Google has done nothing wrong. Further, integrating third party services is very hard to do and risks undermining the quality of search results as Google has no way of knowing how well third party services respond to consumer needs.”

“It will be interesting to see details of the Commission’s statement of objections relating to AdSense and Google’s reaction.”  

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