27 Aug Google Denies Europe’s Antitrust Accusations
Google on Thursday rejected claims from the European Union’s top antitrust official that the company favored some of its own search results over those of rivals, saying there was significant competition in the region’s online search market and that the company’s services increased choice for local consumers.
The company’s response, which was submitted to the European Commission on Thursday afternoon, is the latest chapter in a long investigation into the Silicon Valley technology giant, which would face fines worth billions of dollars if it is found to have broken the European Union’s antitrust rules.
Margrethe Vestager, the Europe Union’s antitrust chief, laid out charges against Google in April, highlighting how the region’s authorities believe that Google has abused its dominance in web searches to benefit some of its own services. The company holds a roughly 90 percent share in Europe’s search market, compared with around 65 percent in the United States.
Ms. Vestager, a Danish politician who has been in the post for less than a year, has also said that the European Union is investigating Google over the dominance of its Android smartphone software, which is used by almost three-quarters of Europe’s smartphone users, according to the data provider IDC.
In a blog post on Thursday, Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, rebuffed accusations that the company’s activities had reduced online competition.
He said that multiple rivals — including big American companies like Amazon and eBay — continued to compete against Google for online search requests. He added that instead of reducing competition, Google sent roughly 20 billion referrals to other Internet companies in Europe over the last decade, leading to a 227 percent increase in web traffic to those sites.
Mr. Walker also said Google’s searches provided individuals with tailored — and specific — results for their online queries. Any attempt to alter how the company offered its search results could harm the quality and relevance of these queries, he warned. He did not comment about Europe’s investigation into Android.