Vestager vs. Google: a fight to ensure a competitive innovation framework

Press conference by Margrethe Vestager, Member of the EC, on Interim Report of the State aid Sector Inquiry on Capacity Mechanisms Date: 13/04/2016. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris.

Press conference by Margrethe Vestager, Member of the EC, on Interim Report of the State aid Sector Inquiry on Capacity Mechanisms
Date: 13/04/2016. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris.

The EU Consumer and Competition Day took place yesterday in Amsterdam with Margrethe Vestager to reveal her will to charge Google for exploiting consumers by pre-installing Android apps on their smartphones.

European Commission (EC) is showing its teeth once again, after Microsoft antitrust case a decade ago, against giant tech companies which are finding ways to increase their sales revenues using anti-competitive practices.

Innovation: Commission’s top concern

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, mentioned at the conference “Fading borders, shifting roles? Innovation inspired policy and regulatory oversight in the digital economy” that the Commission should ensure a competitive innovation framework between large and small corporations. More specifically, Mrs Vestager said: “We need to be sure that big companies don’t try to protect themselves by holding back innovation. Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”

Google is facing charges of 7.4 billion dollars if found to be guilty for abusing the market. This clearly signifies that Europe is not the ideal place to make business as many large corporations might have though. Thus, Google is forced to make business by complying with the European competitive laws or pay the price; or leave the continent.

Google’s response

The American multinational company is discussing the issue with the Commission and states that Android, Google’s operating system, is not holding back innovation but on the contrary is helping consumers. More in detail, Google told Digital Trends that: “Anyone can use Android, with or without Google applications. Hardware manufacturers and carriers can decide how to use Android and consumers have the last word about which apps they want to use on their devices. We continue to discuss this with the European Commission.”

Google has been taking more and more market share from its competitors. According to StatCounter data, two thirds of all mobile phones that are used in Europe this month were running on Android while iOS, Apple’s software accounts for 27%. These figures reveal the huge effect that Android has on European citizens’ lives. Consequently, it is of great importance that tech companies such as Google are monitored adequately by competition enforcers.

Fair competition creates innovation

The “healthier” way to innovate is by pure and fair competition. As Margrethe Vestager said during her speech at the EU Consumer and Competition Day: “Companies innovate because they have to. Because they’d fall behind their competitors if they stopped being inventive. So one of the best ways to support innovation is by promoting competition. That’s why we follow markets such as telecoms so closely, and pay such attention to making sure that competition stays strong in those markets.”

However, most of the times companies that are successful in their field do not welcome innovation because it can lower their market share and their revenues. By not allowing innovations to make it to consumers, these companies manage to keep their power.

News Corp. against Google

Google has become the target not only in Europe but also at the other side of the Atlantic. Hence, apart from the European Commission, News Corp. has filed a complaint about Google’s news services legality. Specifically, the owner of the media corporation accused the U.S. tech giant of lowering his company’s ad revenues by keeping Internet users on its own services showing enough content to prevent people from clicking onto the publisher’s site.

The EU against all

Previously the EU has managed to force Microsoft Corp. to pay billions of euros in fines in the past. Will the same happen with Google or the American multinational will probably find a way to slip out?

According to antitrust experts, the charges against Android are much easier to be proved by the EU since they are based on contracts where illegal behaviour is more apparent.

But even so, it’s surely not going to happen easily and rapidly. It is a procedure that usually takes time (years) and businesses are rarely found to be guilty.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Western Balkans: MEPs take stock of 2018 progress

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

The EU condemns Faroe Islands and Iceland to poverty

Budget MEPs approve €104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

Community Manager – 1289

What lessons to draw from the destruction of Syria

If we don’t protect the ocean, humanitarian disaster awaits

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

Sudan: Health challenges in the Sustainable Development Goals era

European Council: Choosing new leaders for the EU betrays efforts for a wider arrangement

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

Germany hides its own banks’ problems

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

TTIP wins first crucial EU test: MEPs give in to the trade agreement

Vote at 16 in Malta: next stop Europe

Energy Union: EU’s effort towards a cleaner climate with integrated energy market

Assault on key Yemeni port would endanger 300,000 children and ‘choke off’ aid for millions more: UNICEF chief

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

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

South Sudan ‘revitalized’ peace deal must be inclusive, Security Council hears

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

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

JADE Testimonial #2: Jacques @ Process mapping

Technology can help us save the planet. But more than anything, we must learn to value nature

EU Commission: Once in every 20 beef meals you eat…horse probably with drugs in it

Blockchain could boost global trade by $1 trillion

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

Why we need a moderate approach to moderating online content

Our idea of what makes a company successful needs to change. And it starts with making waste expensive

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

The succesful cooperation

The EU finally seizes the opportunity to support the sharing economy?

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A jingoistic Spanish ‘war’ from the past

JADE Romania Celebrates the 4th Anniversary

Finance for SMEs: Alternative supply mechanisms do exist

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

EU finally to extend sanctions on Russia despite arguments; Greece again in Europe’s spotlight

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Can we balance conservation and development? Science says yes

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

We need greater protection for our oceans. We can’t let politics stand in the way

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

‘Step backwards’ for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region as assembly reneges on Srebrenica genocide report

ECB steadily continues monetary easing policy as EU economy gains momentum

JADE Team at the European Business Summit 2017

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