Over the last week, Google has been in the news over antitrust violation charges being brought against them by the European Union, which initially started as a year’s old case that had neither been settled nor won by any involved parties. The new charge to what seems like hold Google accountable for alleged actions of expressing dominance in search rankings in the shopping and travel industries is being led by the EU’s new chief Margrethe Vestager. While it seems like Vestager may have it out for Google for using unfair competition practices, she claims that she “has no grudge against Google” and that they have merely made a statement of objection that highlights the EU’s opinions on the way Google was conducting business.
Google had written to staff in a leaked memo last week that they feel they have a pretty strong case, and that it is possible the case will end up getting settled. Google now has the opportunity having heard the statement of objection from the commission, to prepare their own arguments and present them to the regulators. In the eyes of the EU, things are a “pretty straightforward case of consumer domination” In a recent interview with Re/Code, President Barack Obama made claims that the charges based on protectionism, a statement that Vestager argues is not how things are.
She makes a point to highlight that it would be far from Europe’s best interests to make this situation about protecting the EU’s flag, and that they solely have Europe’s best interests in mind in regards to fair competition practices between rival companies, big or small. In addition to attempting to clarify her stance on Google and the violations she feels they have committed, Vestager appears eager to have US regulators on board with the EU’s decisions so all jurisdictions are on the same page, stressing the importance of antitrust cooperation. The Federal Trade Commission however does not appear to share the same sentiments, and will not be re-opening their case against Google over Search practices according to a statement made by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. Whether or not the FTC decides to change their position in the future is uncertain.