Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

Matt_Brittin_

Matt Brittin is Google’s new chief for Europe (Wikimedia)

When back in April the European Commission formally filed a complaint against Google it was clear that the action could have turned the page of the whole “EU vs Google” case. But after the tech giant responded and set out the initial arguments against the Commission’s findings, almost immediately, no further discussion about the thorny matter followed. Until now.

“We don’t always get it right”

Google’s chief executive for Europe Matt Brittin gave the company’s first public statement on the EU antitrust case last week, and his words were very clear. “We don’t always get it right”. “As far as Europe is concerned: we get it. We understand that people here are not the same in their attitudes to everything as people in America”, Brittin revealed to Politico newspaper in an interview published last Thursday.

A failure in communication

What Mr. Brittin basically acknowledged was that Google and its people had failed to explain its business and vision to policymakers in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. This kind of recognition, which basically tells that Google, probably one of the most innovative companies in the world, failed in communication, is a big deal on its own. Google’s executive openly stressed that Google should better explain how it benefits Europe’s economy, culture and small enterprises, and admitted that something went very wrong in the past.

He also conceded that Google was short on staff in Europe, and so it failed to understand on time Europe’s position and objections. “We just didn’t have the people on the ground to be able to have some of those conversations as we grew”, he said during last week’s interview. How pragmatic is that?

Google’s lifting

Matt Brittin’s appointment as Google’s European President, a new position created to unify Google’s operations here in the Old Continent, tells how the Mountain View, California-based company is now trying to adjust its public image. Google is trying to re-shape the strong “American-rooted Silicon Valley image” that still has here in Europe, which basically represents a risk for the company’s plan – and might be worth billions.

The risk is that, if Google will not adjust its mindset in Europe to be more aware of the differences between the European and the American markets, to rephrase what Mr. Brittin says, the history of legal cases between the EU and the tech giant could become even longer.

Risks and opportunities

Brittin said Google should better explain how it benefits Europe. He also explained that a lot of time is now being spent trying to better explain the company’s business and vision to policymakers in Brussels and how it “benefits Europe’s economy, culture and small enterprises”.

That is exactly how his role as president for Europe reflects this strong will of reform. Freshly appointed Brittin, a former publishing executive, which was chosen after eight years in the company, is clearly trying to take a much more diplomatic approach to solve the controversy in Europe and possibly find a positive equilibrium with the EU.

A firm denial

But despite this new vision, Google’s European CEO obviously found the chance to dismiss the European Commission’s charges, of course. Mr. Brittin stressed Google’s disagreement with the accusations, repeating that, with the boom of mobile devices, the American search engine is not nearly as dominant as it used to be in the past. “There is no evidence that consumers have been harmed here, and actually no evidence that complainants have been harmed,” he said. He was also quick to point out that many of the complainants “are US companies or backed by US companies”.

Obsolete accusations

Mr. Brittin said during the interview how he believes the European Commission’s accusations are basically out of date, as the mobile ecosystem is quickly shifting. “Over that five-year period the world’s changed, right; we’ve all got the entire internet in our pocket,” he said. “There is a big shift in how we’re accessing information and I think there has never been a more competitive time than this in terms of the choices that consumers have”, he added.

Google, which dominates the European search market holding a desktop search share of more than 91%, has been accused of several different anticompetitive practices in Europe over the past five years. Claims include that Google has been abusing its monopoly to gain leverage in the European market and displaying its services more prominently than competitive ones.

Matt Brittin declared that, while the search engine disagrees with the accusations, it remains open to a settlement agreement with the EU. The European Sting will keep monitoring the question closely.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Lost in translation

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

Regional policies slowed down by EU bureaucracy

Facts and prejudices about work

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

What changes in the EU as from today

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

250 days until the European Parliament elections

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

Facebook wins EU approval for WhatsApp acquisition; just a sign of the times

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

The three sins the EU committed in 2015

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

My twin from Guangzhou

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

An American duel in Brussels: Salesforce against Microsoft over Linkedin deal

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

France: New labour laws for more competitiveness

EU Commission: The banks are not obliged to finance the real economy

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part I)

The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

Medicine in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the third entity of the new doctor-patient relationship

Cédric in India

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

The EU Parliament sidesteps the real issues about banks, while the US target the Eurozone lenders

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Commission’s action against imports from China questioned

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

IMAGINATION, FACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHINA

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

“If the job market doesn’t exist, then even the most brilliant Youth Guarantee cannot ensure a job to these young people”, European Youth Forum Secretary General Giuseppe Porcaro on another Sting Exclusive

It’s a week dedicated to all EU budgets; seven days that can make or break the Union

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

Three countries losing ground and one new prime minister

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

The Eurogroup protects Germany and blames others

The IMF sees Brexit’s ‘substantial impact’ while the world’s economy holds its breath

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

ECB bets billions on Eurozone’s economic recovery

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s