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12 Nov, 2020 11:37

Leading tech companies call for tougher antitrust action against Google

Leading tech companies call for tougher antitrust action against Google

A group of leading tech companies has joined over 100 Google critics in calling on the EU to take tougher antitrust action against the company, saying the tech company unfairly boosts its own services on the site’s web searches.

165 critics, including Yelp, Expedia, and Trivago, have accused Google of promoting its own services above others in search results, demanding immediate action to halt this. The letter argues that “Google gained unjustified advantages through preferentially treating its own services within its general search results pages.”

The joint letter was signed by companies and industry groups from the UK and the US, as well in 21 countries across the European Union and was addressed to Margrethe Vestager, a European Commission vice president and the body’s chief antitrust enforcer.

Google, under its parent company Alphabet, has rejected the allegations. In a statement, the company said, “People expect Google to give them the most relevant, high quality search results that they can trust. They do not expect us to preference specific companies or commercial rivals over others or to stop launching helpful services.”

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While the EU has passed new rules under the Digital Markets Act, which would stop tech companies from favoring their own services in search results, the letter claims Google’s competitors do not “have the strength and resources to wait” until it comes into effect.

In the past three years, the EU antitrust body has fined Google a total of €8.25 billion ($9.7 billion) over claims that it has abused its power and control over the market to boost its shopping service, Android operating system, and advertising businesses. Following the previous punishments, Google’s critics claim nothing substantial has changed, as they believe the EU has, on the whole, left Google to fix the alleged issues. However, Google’s spokesman disputes that by stating that the EU’s previous investigations led the company to introduce “intensive monitoring” and generate “billions of clicks for more than 600 comparison shopping services.”

The letter was released a few weeks after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Google similarly accusing the company of misusing its power and holding an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising. 

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