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

Featured Stings

1.1 billion people still lack electricity. This could be the solution

A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

Eurozone set to abandon monetary and incomes austerity and adopt growth friendly policies

Parliament approves key directive regulating professional qualifications

Eurozone: Sovereign debt decreases for the first time since 2007

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

The role of public affairs in student NGOs

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement sees the light as Moscow’s reaction once more looms

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

We know ethics should inform AI. But which ethics?


Re-thinking citizenship education: bringing young people back to the ballot box

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

The EU bows to Turkey in view of the talks for a political settlement in Syria

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

Why is Grexit again in the news? Who is to pay for Eurozone’s banking problems?

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

Internet of Things: a Force for Good or Evil?

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

UN rights office appeals for peaceful Zimbabwe elections amid reports of intimidation

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Shinzō Abe, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker at EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo last week. (Copyright: European Union, 2018 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte)

EU and Japan ratify first FTA ever to include Paris Climate Agreement provision

Women’s leadership ‘critical’ to future of Niger

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

The Council unblocks all EU budgets

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

EU finally agreed to cut roaming charges in 2017 but criticism is always there

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Why the World Cup is a bit like international trade

EU and Indian flags at EU-India Summit in New Delhi last October (copyright EU 2018, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service)

India and the EU get close to revive talks on proposed Free Trade Agreement

Trump’s trade war splits the EU; Germany upset with Juncker’s “we can be stupid too”

How a possible EU budget deficit affects the migration crisis

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

Syria: Civilians bear brunt of unilateral sanctions, exacerbating ‘unparalleled suffering, destruction,’ says UN expert

The widely advertised hazards of the EU not that ominous; the sting is financial woes

ECB to people: Not responsible if you lose money on Bitcoin, your governments are

The decline of our oceans is accelerating, but it’s not too late to stop it

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

Athens searches frantically for a new compromise between politics and economic reality

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

EU/Africa, Caribbean and Pacific: towards which partnership?

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

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