Following Google’s recognition that its 95% market dominance and business practices on both PC and mobile based services may have harmed numerous companies across the Internet and acceptance of the Commission’s “framework”, ICOMP welcomes today’s announcement that a robust dialogue for resolving the many concerns raised will continue.
Commenting on the announcement David Wood, Counsel, ICOMP, said:
“Google’s acceptance of the Commission’s “framework” and commitment to offer remedies for both PC and mobile based Internet was a hugely significant acknowledgement of their market power and illegal anti-competitive behaviour; we should soon discover whether they are serious about addressing the concerns raised not only by the Commission but also numerous companies over the last few years.
It is now vitally important for the ongoing discussions to ensure remedies which, above all, end the discrimination and manipulation of search results which have had the effect of turning the open Internet into a closed Google Internet. We are confident that the Commission will accept nothing short of the necessary package of remedies that achieve this, are incapable of circumvention and ensure the future development of the Internet to the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses, consumers and economies across Europe.
Given Google’s history of deliberately impeding and obstructing official investigations, many companies will continue to monitor the process very closely.
As the discussions develop it will be essential that third parties are offered the opportunity to scrutinise the proposals robustly, to ensure they completely rectify the damaged caused by years of unchecked illegal behaviour by Google. The Commission’s investigation has come a long way and to fail at this stage would have further grave consequences for online competition, innovation and consumer choice.”
Google’s conduct is under investigation by regulators across the globe with investigations known to be underway in at least the United States, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and India. In all of these cases, consumers and competitors desperately need Google’s abusive practices to end and be prevented from recurring.
Today’s action is an important step towards addressing these harms and ensuring a diverse and open Internet. However, a number of questions remain unanswered. Controlling over 95% marketshare across Europe, Google has long denied any status as a dominant firm in Europe. Does today’s movement into technical discussions indicate that Google is prepared to concede that it is indeed dominant? Furthermore, as Google is being investigated for anti-trust violations in numerous jurisdictions, does this news mean that they willing to modify their practices on a global basis or will this be confined to Europe only?