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Wednesday, 15th April 2015

Europe: Statement by Commissioner Vestager on Antitrust Decisions Concerning Google

Source: European Commission

From Today’s Statement of Objections:

Since I took office last November, I have given high priority to the Google antitrust investigations. Given that we are dealing with fast moving markets, I have first updated the information in our files to make sure they reflect latest market developments. I have also met a broad range of players active in many markets, including Google. I am fully aware of the importance of these investigations and their relevance to consumers and market players. Let me say right away that one out of four individual companies that complained in this case is a US company. Companies from the US also play a major role in complaining business associations.

Google has had market shares of more than 90% in general internet search in most EU Member States for many years.

Dominance is, as such, not a problem under EU competition law. However, dominant companies have a responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition, either in the market where they are dominant or in neighbouring markets.

Today’s Statement of Objections focuses on the preferential treatment by Google in its general search results of one of Google’s own products: Its comparison shopping service, which allows consumers to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.

Our preliminary view in the Statement of Objections is that in its general internet search results, Google artificially favours its own comparison shopping service and that this constitutes an abuse.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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