After five years of research, the European Commission has today accused Google of abusing its dominant position by promoting its products in Internet searches, where it controls 90% of the market share in Europe.
“Google’s preferential treatment of its own price comparison service, known as Google Shopping,” is an abuse of a dominant position in general searches. “Google will now have 10 weeks to respond,” says Danish European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
In parallel, the Commission has formally opened an antitrust investigation against Google’s Android mobile operating system, including its applications and services. This opens up a new front against Google, which could affect its aspirations of gaining ground in the mobile market.
The European Union’s patience with Google has finally run out after three failed attempts to assuage the criticisms of countries like France and Germany, who report that the Californian company uses its dominance in Internet searches to abusively promote its own services and advertising.
Google has rejected the allegations. In a blog, the technology giant based in Mountain View, California, has said that it strongly opposes the Statement of Objections announced by the EU, and will defend that its products have promoted competition and benefitted consumers.
“Android has been a key player in stimulating this competition and choice, lowering prices and increasing choice for everyone (there are more than 18,000 different devices available today),” states Google, in defence of its mobile operating system.
Should the US firm fail to change its policy, the penalty could exceed the $6 billion mark – 10% of its total turnover. The Brussels accusation threatens to unleash a trade war between Europe and the US where, incidentally, Commissioner Vestager will be going this Thursday. The news is comparable to the battle that was waged for a decade between the European authorities and Microsoft, also over abuse of its dominant position.