After ongoing investigations since 2010, the EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager announced the official antitrust lawsuit against search giant Google, Inc. This comes on the heels of news that the antitrust commission had been asking permission to publicly publish complaints companies have filed against Google’s practices to further their case.
The charges revolve around Google providing biased results, hiding competitors websites while prominently displaying and promoting their own, especially in regards to Google’s direct answers feature. Google faced similar charges from an investigation in the United States led by the Federal Trade Commission but was eventually dropped at the beginning of 2013. Google voluntarily pledged two changes to appease the masses in response to the dropped charges on their official blog:
- More choice for websites: Websites can already opt out of Google Search, and they can now remove content (for example reviews) from specialized search results pages, such as local, travel and shopping;
- More ad campaign control: Advertisers can already export their ad campaigns from Google AdWords. They will now be able to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API.
Despite Google making efforts to settle grievances throughout the investigation, the EU commission seems to be unsatisfied with Google’s promises to change their ways and the FTC’s findings. The antitrust commission is going ahead with their own lawsuit that could end up with Google paying fines upwards of $6 billion.