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.

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

How do we upskill a billion people by 2025? Leadership and collaboration will be key

The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050*

COVID-19: Budget MEPs call for quick progress on post-2020 contingency plan

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

These are the best MBAs if you want to be an entrepreneur

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

Sochi not far away from Ukraine

Why are Black people in the UK more at risk from COVID-19?

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

COVID-19 is an unmissable chance to put people and the planet first

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

‘Over-reacting is better than non-reacting’ – academics around the world share thoughts on coronavirus

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

OECD’s Gurría calls for overhaul of economic thinking to address global challenges

Finnish Council Presidency priorities debated in plenary

7 innovative projects making cities more sustainable

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

Tobacco-free Public Space in Africa’s Most Populous Country

There are more than 1 billion guns in the world and this is who owns them

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

How video games can reunite a divided world

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

The true EU unemployment rate may have soared to 21.9%

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

OECD sees rising trade tensions and policy uncertainty further weakening global growth

Does hosting a World Cup make economic sense?

How governments and mobile operators are easing network congestion during the COVID-19 crisis

Macron leads EU-wide minimum wage call as Merkel, Medvedev warn of global injustice

Coronaviruses: the truth against the myths

Sustainable fisheries: Commission takes stock of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and launches consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2021

Hungary: Commission takes next step in the infringement procedure for non-provision of food in transit zones

Do we need a new Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after COVID-19?

Summertime Consultation: 84% want Europe to stop changing the clock

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

3 innovations which are leading the fight to save our ocean

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

New rules make household appliances more sustainable

The world is failing miserably on access to education. Here’s how to change course

The ECB ‘accidentally’ followed IMF‘s policy advice for growth and job creation by printing more money

Don’t compare data to oil – digitization needs a new mindset

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

What kind of action on social justice should we expect from companies in the future?

Banks get new capital for free and citizens pay the bill

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

David Attenborough: The planet can’t cope with overpopulation

The future of suicide and depression prevention

These 5 start-ups are shaping the future of Africa’s cities

Migration and asylum: EU funds to promote integration and protect borders

Here’s how sustainability can make you stand out from the crowd

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

We need to deep clean the oceans. Here’s how to pay for it

As people return to work, here’s how we can make commuting more inclusive and sustainable

International Literacy Day: What you need to know about youth literacy

More Stings?

Advertising

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