Thursday, April 25, 2013

Google rivals criticise offer to end EU competition

The European Commission published the detail of the proposed deal for the first time, prompting immediate criticism.
A Google Inc member of staff walks through the company headquarters in London, UK
Google's offer could end the threat of a damaging at the European Court of Justice and would be legally binding for five years. It follows an investigation lasting more than two years and protracted settlement negotiations.
In response accusations it abuses its dominance of the general web search market to damage competition in specialised markets such as shopping and travel search, Google would among other actions:
• label promoted links to its own specialised search services so that users can distinguish them
• display links to three rival specialised search services close to its own services
• offer websites the option to opt-out from the use of their content in Google's specialised search services
• no longer force publishers to only display Google advertising
Foundem, a British complainant in the case, said the proposals were "a half-hearted attempt to dilute their [Google's] anti-competitive effects"."Without robust guidelines that guarantee the placement, depth, prominence, and relevance of these links, and guarantee that the selection of competitors will be free from anti-competitive penalties and discrimination, neither measure will make a dent in Google’s ability to hijack the traffic and revenues of its rivals," said Foundem chief executive Shivaun Raff.
The proposals have been published at the start of a one month phase of formal "market testing", which allows rivals to respond. Other complainants in the case, such as Microsoft, which operates the Bing search engine, and TripAdvisor, which accused Google of copying its travel reviews without permission are yet to respond.

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