To Bing or Not to Bing? That is the question

microsoft-pixabayIt was earlier today that the Vice-President of the European Commission, Joaquin Almunia, received an open letter signed by a dozen complainants that ask for the strictest possible punishment in the long pending Google Antitrust case. This letter signed by 11 internet companies came as the next strategic move of the fierce Anti-Google lobby that is playing all its cards now in its effort to convince the European Commission that Google is evil and that no settlement should be accepted with the Internet giant.

Same old Story

The antitrust investigation of the Commission against Google, which will celebrate next November its 3-year anniversary, as expected, has not yet come to conclusion. It was indeed in last month’s article at the Sting with the title “It ain’t over until Google says it’s over” where I wrote that “it will take quite some time until the DG Competition makes any announcement on this complex issue”. Almost two months have passed since then and still we‘ve got no official announcement by Mr. Almunia on Google’s reply to the DG Comp concerns.

As was stated in my story back then, the Commission called Google to answer four competition concerns:

“First, in its general search results on the web, Google displays links to its own vertical search services…differently than it does for links to competitors.

Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings… This practice may impact for instance travel sites or sites providing restaurant guides.

Our third concern relates to agreements between Google and partners on the websites of which Google delivers search advertisements…The agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google…

Our fourth concern relates to restrictions that Google puts to the portability of online search advertising campaigns from its platform AdWords to the platforms of competitors.”

Since May 2012 when those concerns were published, Google has remained silent and only the last day of January they sent their answer with suggestions on how to resolve the issue and reach a settlement with the European Commission. Since then nothing has been officially announced by the two parties that fell into a deep almost two month negotiation. According to the Sting’s sources, Google is looking for a settlement and so does Mr. Almunia who had originally admitted that he is in favour of a settlement. One thing is for sure, though, Google will not get away with it as easily as they did with the Federal Trade Commission in the US at the beginning of the year where they won in a rather similar antitrust case.

It’s a Microsoft campaign after all

There is a common denominator in both cases, the antitrust investigation against Google in the US and in Europe, and this is that in both cases similar letters were written to lobby the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission accordingly. And the similarity is not focused only on the writing style which is stressing on the unfair monopolistic behaviour of Google but also on the names of the writers of those complain/lobby letters. In both cases there is at least one common sender address and that is the UK-based price comparison outfit called Foundem that since 2010 keeps complaining both in the US and Europe about Google’s evil operation. Together with Foundem other companies like Fairsearch, Hotmap, Expedia and Trip Advisor joined this Anti-Google crusade claiming that the way Google lists search results prohibits their own links to get positioned high. All the above companies are either widely backed by the software giant Microsoft like Fairsearch in the US, or belong at the European lobbyist group for companies doing business in the digital arena, called iComp.

As pointed out in my previous story on Microsoft’s Anti-Google campaign, iComp in Europe was one of the protagonists during the 2010 initial antitrust investigation by the European Commission. It seems that since it has been leaked that probably the Commission will come to a settlement with Google, Microsoft, the biggest iComp member, is using the lobby organization to give the last lobby fight against Google. In today’s letter those 11 companies are basically repeating or, better said, reminding to Mr. Almunia his own complaints. Moreover, the 11 companies are urging the Commission to issue the Statement of Objections (SO). SO is a legal instrument used by the Commission to describe the antitrust case and give a deadline for a company response. If the company fails to reply, then it can be fined with up to 10% of its turnover. Apparently, Microsoft urgently demands Google’s blood spill.

Googling “truth almunia antitrust google”

As in my previous story on the issue and since the EC does not uncover Google’s defense on the allegations, the conclusion cannot be different this time. Bing is losing game and match and Microsoft is using any means to hurt the lord of the rings in the search engine market. Nevertheless, it is quite unclear what can be the benefit for the European consumer out of all this. It would have been better if we were presented with Google’s point of view so that we can weigh things and judge. Then, we could see for ourselves whether Google is monopolistic or not. Instead, neither the Commission nor Google uncover any information, leaving the most important stakeholder of this issue, the European Internet surfer, outside of the house.

What is Mr. Almunia afraid of? And if he cannot uncover any important details before the final decision is made, are we going to find out ever what is the position of Google in all this? This spooky covert negotiation of the EC with Google while Microsoft’s lobbyists are protesting outside Berlaymont really gives me the creeps. The European consumer deserves to find out the truth behind this corporate lobby war. After all, it is her that is going to Google or Bing tomorrow “Almunia Antitrust Google”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

New UN finance panel to push Global Goals forward

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

Growth is running out of steam. How do we prepare for the next crisis?

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

FROM THE FIELD: Children in warzones denied right to education

UN chief condemns attack in south-west Iran which killed dozens

EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

As a rising global power, what is India’s vision for the world?

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

IMF cuts global growth outlook, but predicts pick up later in 2019

Service and Sacrifice: Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon proud to serve their homeland and the United Nations

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

Europe votes against GMOs but the Council votes for TTIP

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter

Young people struggling in digital world, finds latest OECD PISA survey

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Most US students aren’t learning about climate change. Parents and teachers think they should

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Syria: WHO appeals for funding to sustain critical health care for millions trapped by conflict

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

UN highlights need to solve growing burden of forcibly displaced Africans

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Travel the world, find yourself

COP21 Breaking News_10 December:#ParisAgreement: Points that remain in suspense

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

It’s time we took a seat ‘at your table’: Guterres calls on world youth to keep leading climate emergency response

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

10 reasons why today’s cyber leaders are tomorrow’s world leaders

Theresa May’s global Britain against Philip Hammond’s Brexit fog

South Sudan’s women caught up in ‘futile man’s war’ UN gender equality chief

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

A backbencher Tory MP threatens both EU and UK with a no-deal Brexit

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

12 ideas on how the private sector can help ensure universal healthcare access by 2030

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

Libya on verge of civil war, threatening ‘permanent division’, top UN official warns Security Council

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

Draghi: ECB to flood Eurozone and the world with more zero cost money; risk of drowning in cash

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

The horrific trend of the anti-vaccine movement in Turkey

EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s