EU enforcer Margethe Vastager has made it her mission over the course of the last several months to take down Google. While she called the company “highly successful,” that was the closest thing to a compliment that she gave the search giant. The EU officially filed antitrust charges against Google for manipulating search within the EU zone, which has meant other search engines, like Bing, or more local search options – would fail in comparison.
The notion is that Google has been exploiting search terms and search results – to ensure that their own results, or partnered results benefited from the manipulation. Ultimately, the EU feels as though it restricts competition. Right now Google has 10 weeks remaining to respond to the charges in writing. At that point they will face them, or they will be modified or dropped altogether.
Right now it would appear as though the charges going away are unlikely, and with Margethe Vastager leading the way – it’s not entirely likely that Google will have an easy time defending this one. Many outside the EU have suggested that there are less honorable reasons for the charges. Specifically, this has been looked at as a possible ploy for EU members to essentially push out competition in favor of their own local entities.
This is something that has come up numerous times with American companies that work to do business in Europe. What they have found historically is that there is more push back than many realized when American companies attempt to do business over in Europe. It’s something that has become commonplace, as companies work to try and figure out how to do business over there without actually becoming a target of the EU.
Either way, this is something that will be a challenge for Google to navigate moving forward – and at least in Europe, may have to scale back their operation – or tear down some of the options in order to continue doing business the way they currently are. One of the options remains breaking the company into smaller chunks, which wouldn’t have as large holdings to use to win the search game.