Categories: LegalRegulation

Three British Firms Involved In Google EU Antitrust Case

Three British companies along with 16 others from Europe and the US make up the official list of complainants against Google in the ongoing European Commission antitrust case, sources close to the matter have told Reuters.

The British firms involved are Streetmap, a UK road mapping and Google Maps competitor; Foundem, a price comparison website; and ICOMP, a lobbying group for net equality for businesses in the UK.

The other complainants include Microsoft, Yelp and TripAdvisor, along with European news, search, and mapping companies.

Official charge list

According to Reuters, 30 firms have filed complaints against Google with the European Commission, but these 19 were the one who selected themselves for the official charge list.

This gives them more benefits in the case, as the companies will be privy to regulatory proceedings and be able to fight their case in front of competition experts, Reuters said.

One of the British firms, Foundem, sent TechWeekEurope a document which detailed more than ten years of the company’s efforts against what it deems “insidious search result practices”.

In the document, Foundem said: “Although there are now an unprecedented number of Complainants, including industry giants such as Microsoft, Expedia, Trip Advisor, and the German Publishers Association, this has seldom been the battle between titans that Google has tried to portray.”

The European Commission probe into Google’s search products came as it received complaints from a number of its competitors including Microsoft, Nokia and Expedia.

These companies claimed that Google had abused its dominant position in the online search market to shut out rivals in areas such as price comparison, navigation and advertising. It is also investigating whether Google has been “scraping” content from rivals’ sites, and unfairly restricting advertisers and software developers who do business with the search giant.

Disagrees

But Google said it “respectfully but strongly disagrees” with the EC Statement of Objections.

In a blog post, Amit Singhal, Senior VP, Google Search said: “Indeed if you look at shopping – an area where we have seen a lot of complaints and where we understand the European Commission will focus its Statement of Objections – it’s clear that (a) there’s a ton of competition (including from Amazon and eBay, two of the biggest shopping sites in the world) and (b) Google’s shopping results have not the harmed the competition,” wrote Amit Singhal, Senior VP, Google Search.

ICOMP told TechWeekEurope that its formal complaint was made in 2013.Earlier this month, the company posted a statement which said: “This case is not, and never has been, about requiring Google to publish its algorithm or denying it the chance to innovate or develop. It has always been about the consistent and impartial application of European competition laws.

“Google must now be required to stop abusing its dominance in search by unfairly prioritising its own services and demoting rivals, activities the Commission has been clear are detrimental to the competitive process and thereby to European consumers.”

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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