Google critics call for rapid EU antitrust measures in a joint letter

A group of 165 companies and industry associations have urged EU antitrust authorities to take a stricter stance on Google. The US tech giant wrongly favors its own services in its web searches.

The group includes US and UK companies as well as colleagues in 21 EU countries. On Thursday, she sent a joint letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, in which she said Google is offering its own services, such as accommodation, travel and jobs, preferential placement in search results and calling for swift action to end the practice .

Google, a unit of Alphabet, has refuted claims that it wrongly preferred its own services. It is said that its users are not bound and that competition for its services on the internet is just a click away.

Vestager has fined Google a total of 8.25 billion euros (approximately 72,600 billion rupees) over the past three years for abusing its market power to promote its shopping comparison service, Android mobile operating system and advertising business.

The 165-strong group, which claims to be the largest group ever to write jointly to EU competition chiefs, consisted of 135 companies offering online services and 30 industry associations.

The signatories of the letter seen by Reuters included longtime Google critics Expedia, Foundem, Kelkoo, Stepstone, Trivago and Yelp, whose complaint sparked the EU shopping investigation against Google.

“While we are competing with each other for the best customer experience, there is one common competitor that does not compete fairly – Google,” the letter said.

“Google has gained undue advantage by giving preference to its own services on its general search results pages by displaying various forms of grouped specialized search results (called OneBoxes),” it added.

OneBoxes outline information and images in boxes at the top of search results and are often an opportunity for local businesses to gain more visibility.

For example, a box with the Google job search service may appear when searching for local jobs, or a box with the Google flight search service may appear in the results for a flight query.

“With this exclusive use of OneBoxes, Google artificially keeps users in their own service and prevents them from visiting competing, more relevant services,” the letter said.

The group said the Digital Markets Act, new EU tech rules in the pipeline that would prevent dominant online platforms from preferring their own services, would take too long to take effect. They urged Vestager to act quickly to make sure Google treats its rivals equally in search results.

“Many of us may not have the strength or the resources to wait for such regulation to really take effect,” they said.

Vestager will announce draft law on December 2nd that must be supported by EU countries and the European Parliament before it can become law in a process that can take a year or more. It is unclear how the new rules would affect Google’s presentation of search results.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, Download the episodeor just hit the play button below.


Source link :