The anti-free trade consortium in Brussels is leveling more charges at Google. The EU nannycrats just cannot stand or deal with a successful business that people like.
The Financial Times reports Brussels Piles New Charges on Google as Vestager Digs In.
Brussels launched another volley of competition complaints against Google on Thursday, marking the latest gambit in a protracted antitrust saga.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition enforcer, issued two extra sets of charges against the US group, alleging that it abused its search clout to muscle out smaller rivals in online advertising and shopping comparison markets.
However, rather than significantly broadening the regulatory assault against Google, the moves largely consolidate the European Commission’s position as it edges towards infringement decisions and possible fines. These would only come to pass in 2017 at the earliest — some eight years after the first complaint against Google was filed.
The new charges create a three-front legal battle line with Google by adding to allegations in April related to the Android mobile operating system, which are potentially the most problematic for the company. Google has rejected any wrongdoing and said its “innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition”.
Competition investigators generally wish to avoid additional charge sheets, which indicate their legal case is trickier than first expected. But the concession does not mean the investigation is dead — Ms Vestager stressed such follow-up charges were issued in Brussels’ successful cases against Microsoft and Intel.
Indeed, her decision signals that she is raising her stakes and is likely to see the matter through to a decision and possible fine — rather than opting for a settlement — according to legal analysts.
“She is doubling down. They are sinking their teeth in further and they will finish the shopping case. That is plain,” said Alec Burnside, a lawyer at Cadwalader acting for complainants in a separate matter against Google.
Meet Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s “Competition Enforcer”
Google Tax in Spain
In a stunning display of stupidity, Spain passed a “Google Tax” that charged news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories. Rather than pay the tax, Google left.
Then, in an amazing twist of irony, the publishers who were in favor of the tax, demanded Google stay.
A study shows Spain’s “Google tax” has been a disaster for publishers.
A study commissioned by Spanish publishers has found that a new intellectual property law passed in Spain last year, which charges news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories, has done substantial damage to the Spanish news industry.
In the short-term, the study found, the law will cost publishers €10 million, or about $10.9 million, which would fall disproportionately on smaller publishers. Consumers would experience a smaller variety of content, and the law “impedes the ability of innovation to enter the market.”
The study concludes that there’s no “theoretical or empirical justification” for the fee. The full study (PDF) is available for download; it’s in Spanish with an English-language executive summary.
The law, which provides for fines of up to $758,000 for violators, was passed in October. Unlike previous attempts to impose a “Google News tax” in Germany and Belgium, the Spanish law doesn’t allow publishers to opt out. In response, Google simply closed down Google News in Spain.
Whatever loss of traffic occurs due to readers who may read a news aggregator and then choose not to read an entire story, is more than made up for by the “market expansion” effect, the study found. In other words, given access to a news aggregator like Google, people read much more news.
The NERA analysis found a 6 percent overall drop in traffic from the Spanish Google News closure and a 14 percent drop for smaller publications.
The entire notion there needs to be a “Competition Enforcer” is idiotic in and of itself. People use Google because they like Google. Others use Firefox because they like Firefox.
The market is fully capable of deciding what needs to be, not “competition enforcer” bureaucrats demanding mediocrity.
Margrethe Vestager and her nannycrat idiocy provides a stellar example as to why the UK should be pleased to be out of the EU.
With a tip of the hat to reader Crysangle, please check out this link to what remains of Google News in Spain.
For more insanity please see …
- Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight
- France Considers Forcing Google to Disclose Search Algorithm; Too Much Satisfaction!
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
This is the page you get for news in Spanish :
Thanks – Check out the addendum
The desperation of controllers would be laughable if not so destructive. They blame the failure of their carefully engineered and controlled economy on a lack of absolute control. The more destruction they create, the more imperative their role. This path is not correctable. All we can do is resist and extend, making it last as long as we can and then hope the final collapse is not devastating. I wouldn’t bet on it.
The EU umbrella is the corrupt/inept/idiotic politician’s union.
**********Look for the union label********** EU
“Appears to be a terrorist attack.”
What does that mean?
I Google searched “appearance” and the definition came up as “could mean anything.”
Suddenly I don’t feel like buying anything denominated in dollars save silver or gold….
“Could mean anything….
Try importing cars there… we found out real quick that the EU was the acronym for EUthanasia of competition. We tried everything to satisfy their safety laws for market entry and only one thing worked… We bought a plant in Graz, Austria and built the car there. Funny thing was, all the safety systems they pooh-poohed on our import vehicle attempt, were approved without change when the vehicle was certified. EUthanize Brussels.
Chris Hogan said:
Google has no lack of search engine or shopping comparison competition in the U.S. Most of the competition partners with Google via links.
The EU guys might be too silly, but the Obama administration (and prior admins as well) not enforcing the antitrust laws is not a good thing either. Almost any product or service that you buy in the US now comes from just 2 or 3 large corporations in that sector.
Jon Sellers said:
And many studies show that you need a minimum of 5 companies in a market to create effective competition. Anything less and the rest will simply collude on price. This is why airline prices fell so dramatically after deregulation and are now finally going up because the market has become so consolidated.
A lack of competition is by definition a lack of capitalism. But libertarians generally are willing to sacrifice the benefits of competitive capitalism in favor of individual liberty.
And they don’t seem to understand that their individual freedom (as consumers as well as in other aspects) is abridged if they stood by while corporations got concentrated.
I think many libertarians are merely Republicans who are taking refuge under a different banner because they don’t want to own failures like the Iraq war etc.
Jon Sellers said:
Well, I’m a registered Republican, but I didn’t vote for GWB, nor did I support the invasion of Iraq (or Afghanistan). So I only claim a small ownership for inadequate protest.
Stuki Moi said:
In a genuinely free world, none of those “cartels” will ever hold. While conversely, any conceivable shy of a genuinely divine one, will be more likely to listen to a bigger company than a smaller one. Always and everywhere. If I start a search engine tomorrow, Obama will still keep calling Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) to “help shape technology policy” instead of me.
Government’s business, the product they are selling, is promises. Promises that sound nice enough to the marginal chump, to get them past the 50% vote threshold. That’s what gets them elected/keeps them in business. Not delivering on anything. And to aid in the sales process, it behooves them to partner up with those with the most resources to contribute to their ad campaign. Not some crank in a basement who thinks he’s invented a better search engine than Google.
If there is too little competition in a space, it is not due to lack of some gigantic, nuclear armed, monopoly to end all other monopolies not being powerful enough. But rather to the less obvious restrictions to competition that the big guys are paying to keep in place. In the tech space in particular, look at IP laws and their enforcement. Due to lawyers and politicians and other net negative contributors working diligently to inject themselves into value-add chains, it has gotten much more difficult for startups, particularly breakout groups from established players, to go into business, than it once was.
A group of Googlers who think they may be on to a slightly improved way of doing something Google does, but are unable to convince someone higher up to fund the effort, will have the hardest, darned time getting outside funding if they want to go it alone. Simply due to the perception that anyone funding them may risk losing it all in litigation, due to non-competes, IP this or that etc.
Heck, it might not even be a real issue, but the legal uncertainty keeps a lot of people from even trying. And, contrary to the Hollywood image of the nerdy teenager who saves the word from the big monopolistic corporation, in reality the people who are by far the most likely to be able to improve on a mature product like search, are those who have worked at one of the market leaders long enough to be intimately familiar with the pain points faced by practitioners of the current state of the art. Any “legal framework” that restrains the ability of those guys to go out and compete against their incumbent employer, WILL reduce competition. Which is, after all, the actual, although rarely if ever stated, goal of law and politics to begin with: Preserve “society”, by taking payments from those who have something to pay, in exchange for helping protect those guys’ fortunes from those pesky upstarts out to “upend” “society as we know it.”
POTUS admins are generally the cause of the lack of competition. They create regulations that prevent competition from starting, and their economic policies encourage M&A rather than entrepreneurship. The POTUS idea of “competition” is breaking up AT&T into 7 companies – of which 2 remain. No different than digging a hole and filling it in. IOW, pure waste.
Mike Graham said:
I’m old, but I remember a time, long ago, when monopolies were against the law and governments (elected by the people) broke them up to foster innovation and provide startups an environment in which to grow (remember when small business drove the economy and the middle class… for those that remember the middle class).
And then Mr. Global captured (or somehow put a $pell on) previously critical thinking people who are now convinced that monstrous conglomerates are benevolent, caring enterprises with societies best interest at heart.
I would suggest some critical thinking on the subject, especially towards the motivation of pieces, and places, like this.
Carlos Lizarraga said:
I think that the big newspapers in Spain are actually happy with Google News’ closure. People will still go to big media for news. Smaller media would get traffic from Google News and now that free advertising is gone and it is more difficult for them to get known.
everybody lost and your link shows why
Carlos Lizarraga said:
I am sorry, but I don’t get what you mean. From a rational point of view, it is true that everybody loses. But these people are not rational; they are the type of people that wouldn’t mind losing one eye as long as their enemy loses both eyes.
The mainstream media won in their view because this helps them get rid of smaller independent media. The government won in their view because they keep their influence over the mainstream media and they don’t have to deal with independent media that expose people to alternate points of view.
Rajoy (Spain’s PM) doesn’t understand well the internet and social networks. He seems to think that the public can still be influenced solely via newspapers and TV.