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EU To Chase Google for Antitrust

The would-be do-gooders in the European Union who have given Microsoft such fits over the years are getting serious about going after another American target: Google.

And what incriminating stuff does the EU have on Google? Well...none, actually, but the European governing body is pretty darn sure that Google has been evil somehow. Check out these allegations leveled against the company, taken from the article quoted above:

"1) Rankings: Google allegedly lowered the ranking of unpaid search results of competitors that specialize in services such as price comparisons. The firm has also allegedly given preferential placement of its own search services in order to shut out competitors.

2) Sponsored Advertising: Google allegedly lowered the 'Quality Score' for sponsored links of competing vertical search services. The Quality Score is one of the factors that determine the price paid to Google by advertisers.

3) Advertising Obligations: Google allegedly forced exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their Web sites, as well as on computer and software vendors, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools.

4) Data Portability: Google allegedly restricted services from transporting advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms."

Huh. So, Google allegedly earned -- against a lot of competition -- a near-monopoly on a platform, search in this case, and then used its position of power on that platform to promote its products over those of competitors. Well done, Google! If all of this is true, then you've followed the Microsoft business model to a T. Seriously, congratulations. And EU, leave Google alone. Google got the loot. That's business.

Oh, and Microsoft, you could stand to be a little less giddy about this whole thing. We're sure that you're more than willing to help a competitor get whacked in Brussels the way you did, but you have to admit that Google beat you at your own game here -- allegedly.

What's your take on Google's alleged antitrust misdoings? Which do you trust more, Google or Microsoft? Answer at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 12/01/2010 at 1:23 PM


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