Google has been under investigation in the European Union (EU) for some time over alleged anti-competitive practices. The anti-competitive accusations revolve around the fact that Google gives incentives to manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, LG etc.) who install Google search and other Google services on their devices. According to Reuters, the EU is planning on ordering Google to discontinue payments and discounts to manufacturers immediately. Officials also want to prevent Google from forcing manufacturers into installing Google apps if restrictions on the use of Android are included.
Google “cannot punish or threaten” companies for not complying with its conditions, according to the document seen by Reuters. “The Commission intends to set the fine at a level which will be sufficient to ensure deterrence,” it said. The Commission’s investigation followed a complaint by FairSearch, a lobby group supported by companies that want to ensure they are not disadvantaged by search engine market dominance, in March 2013.
Google is facing fines for anti-competitive practices going back to 2011 and continuing on to this day. The Commission may also fine Google for favoring its own shopping services in its search results. The document obtained by Reuters also shows that Google may be forced to rank competitors shopping and other services equally in their search engine. In other words, Google will not be allowed to favor their own services inside of their search engine.
Google said: “We look forward to showing the European Commission that we’ve designed the Android model in a way that’s good for both competition and consumers, and supports innovation across the region.”
The anti-competitive argument against Google, like any other argument, has its supporters and haters. It’s pretty clear that Google has been favoring their services and products for years over the competition, and that kind of makes sense. That’s why this Commission was formed, to look at the laws on the books and clearly define what is anti-competitive, and what is business as usual. It would appear that the EU is ready to give us all a clear definition and they’re going to showcase that with Google.
What do you think of this possible ruling and fine from the EU Commission? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.Source: Reuters
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