According to a report from Reuters, the European Competition Commissioner, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, has dismissed as 'fallacy', accusations of bias against US-based companies, in the face of mounting allegations that the European regulator is overstepping its boundaries in an overzealous and misplaced attempt to protect European companies against American onslaught. The EU has been investigating a number of American companies, including technology giants like Google, Apple and Amazon, and also, leading coffeehouse chain Starbucks for allegedly violating European legislations. In case of Google, the EU alleges that the search giant has abused its position of preeminence as the world largest and most widely used internet search engine for online shopping searches. The Commission is also said to be looking at whether Google has used the market dominance of Android to favor its own services over that of its rivals. In case of Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, the European regulator is investigating alleged tax evasion in Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, respectively.
Defending her position and that of her organization against growing criticism from mostly the American media, Ms. Vestager, on Friday, issued a statement, saying that the EU antitrust watchdog has not singled out American companies, but is looking to protect the interest of European consumers, as is their mandate. Citing investigations and subsequent fining of Japanese automotive companies for alleged cartelized pricing of aftermarket car-parts and mergers and acquisitions that allegedly violate EU regulations, Ms. Vestager categorically dismissed any talk of geographic bias against companies from any part of the world, including, but not limited to the United States. The following is an extract of a speech that the chief of the European Competition Commission will deliver at the Foreign Policy Association in New York later this month. "Some claim that our cases involving Internet giants such as Apple or Google are evidence of bias. Well, that is a fallacy. Yes, U.S. companies are often involved when we investigate the digital industry. But you will also see many Japanese firms in our car-part cartel cases".
EU's case against Google is based on complaints made by at least 19 entities based out of Europe and the US, which includes corporates and lobby groups. Fellow tech giants Microsoft is said to be one of the complainants, in a list that includes online travel sites Expedia, Odigeo and TripAdvisor, along with U.S. consumer reviews website Yelp, among a number of other, lesser known European firms.