@scleland: EU-Google Antitrust Cases vs. Google’s Net Neutrality Leadership

Google: do as we say, not as we do.

As the longtime leader, corporatesponsor, and advocate for the net neutrality movement, Google has made net neutrality, a key part of its values and brand.

Google’s Take Action page explains net neutrality: “The Internet should be competitive and open. … It’s a level playing field, where new entrants and established players can reach users on an equal footing. If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies’ content over others that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome.”

Does Google walk its net neutrality talk?

As a result of five years of investigation and evidence collection, the EU has formally charged Google with abuses of its >90% dominance in four separate markets in three separate antitrust cases — search/shopping, Android mobile, and advertising.

Essentially these collective antitrust charges describe a Google that creates an “unlevel playing field where new entrants and established players” cannot “reach users on an equal footing,” so that Google can block some services and cut special deals” for itself, “that prioritize” Google’s “content over others” content.

Listen to how EU antitrust authorities describe their evidence that shows how Google has engaged in systematic, non-neutral, gatekeeper-like behaviors, ecosystem-wide — against users, competitors, advertisers, publishers, adtech providers, device manufacturers, mobile operators, app developers and content providers.

Google’s non-neutral gatekeeper treatment of competitors’ search traffic

The EU charges Google diverts users’ “traffic” from competitors’ content to Google’s.

Google has sought to maximise traffic to its own websites…” The EU’s “preliminary conclusion [is] that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping service in its general search results. The additional evidence relates, amongst other things, to the way Google favours its own comparison shopping service over those of competitors, the impact of a website’s prominence of display in Google’s search results on its traffic, and the evolution of traffic to Google’s comparison shopping service compared to its competitors. The Commission is concerned that users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to queries – this is to the detriment of consumers, and stifles innovation.” [Bold added]

Read the post on the Precursor Blog.

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