Google rival says proposal to avoid an EU antitrust fine make matters worse

Google's proposed settlement of an antitrust investigation will 'entrench, extend, and escalate its abusive practices', according to Foundem

The leading complainant against Google in a European Union competition case said Friday that the search giant's proposed settlement of the case will "entrench, extend, and escalate its abusive practices."

British company Foundem was the first to lodge a complaint with the European Commission about Google's alleged anti-competitive practices. In a statement Friday Foundem said that Google's revised proposals continue to be part of its "long running strategy to transition organic traffic into paid traffic."

Google has been under investigation by the European Commission since 2010 over allegations that it has abused its dominant market position in various ways, including prioritizing its own services in search results.

In an effort to avoid a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover, Google has  proposed labelling links to its own sites in search results and including links to three rival search engines for specialist search results that generate revenue for Google.

The Commission forwarded these proposals to 125 interested parties along with a questionnaire about their opinion of them in a process the Commission calls market testing. However, the recipients were banned from discussing the documents in public. Google's 94-page proposal included sample screen layouts for the display of search results.

"We were troubled by the Commission's attempt to cloak this second 'market test' in confidentiality, which would have suppressed debate," Foundem said in its statement.

Many of the Commission's questions were irrelevant, Foundem said, adding that there was one important question the Commission failed to ask: Would Google's revised proposals address the Commission's competition concerns?

"If anything, the few alterations make the proposals worse rather than better. For example, the proposal of an AdWords-based bidding process for Paid Rival Links simply increases the efficiency with which Google would extract revenues from its competitors," said Foundem.

Google declined to comment.

Google's latest proposals were leaked last month amid growing anger over the secrecy surrounding the case. If the Commission were to accept the proposals, they would become legally binding.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags antitrustGoogleFoundemeuropean commissionlegalinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?