With Google revising its settlement proposal for the fourth time, questions are arising as to whether or not Google may face sanctions in the EU.
Google’s been under some investigation for its search engine tactics that have the Mountain View Company promoting its own answers to Internet searches over the search answers of other competitors. The investigation has been under way for four years, but the EU recently addressed Google (this month) about the changes it must make if the company wants to avoid charges. This marks the fourth time that Google has been forced to revise its search settlement proposal because it didn’t fit the expectations of EU competition regulators.
EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia said on Tuesday that if Google continues to offer proposals that are rejected by the EU that don’t go far enough in the settlement terms, “the logical next step is to move to a statement of objections.” In other words, the EU will take formal action against Google and bring charges. “At the beginning of the month I have communicated this to the company asking them to improve these proposals put forward by Google.”
“Microsoft was investigated 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft,”Almunia said. In other words, the EU doesn’t mind bringing charges against the company and is serious about the search settlement coming to a resolution that’s best for all parties involved. Google has received over 20 formal complaints by companies including TripAdvisor and Microsoft, according to Almunia.
Google’s own search engine processes 90% of all internet searches on a regular basis, and the company makes money from pushing its own Google answers to search questions over that of other competitors.
What Google must learn through this situation is that its own search answers are welcome – but not at the expense of competition. As with anything, competition is good for consumers and mankind as a whole. Fortunately, American carriers T-Mobile and Sprint have learned this lesson, too. While a T-Mobile/Sprint merger would have provided some serious competition for wireless carrier giants AT&T and Verizon Wireless, it’s also the case that Sprint and T-Mobile bring something to the carrier game apart that they couldn’t bring together.
Competition would still be good, but look at all that T-Mobile accomplished apart? The company started to lower prices, offer a music-listening experience that doesn’t count against data used, etc. These are excellent changes, and some of T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” campaign has been in favor of consumers – and even AT&T and Verizon have noticed by lowering their prices. In the same way, search engine competitors that aren’t Google, for example, have helped Web searches, as many of them provide quality content. With decreased competition, Google is able to push its answers, and the reader suffers. Quality content is king on the World Wide Web, and competition pushes even Google to offer better answers than its competitors.
If formal charges are filed against Google, the search engine giant could owe as much as $55.5 billion, or 10% of its 2013 income.