Google in Denial
Today’s blog post from Google is, unfortunately, simply another attempt to divert attention away from the devastating impact their self-preferencing has had on the online market, making many of the same old arguments we have seen before.
Commissioner Vestager has been clear that in her view Google’s systematic self preferencing of its own comparison shopping service, along with its demotion of rivals, is in breach of European antitrust rules. But, in spite of the detailed work and analysis of the Commission and others over many years, Google still refuses to acknowledge the impact of its anti-competitive conduct.
If Google truly believes “in the interest of promoting user choice and open competition”, and in the strengths of its arguments, we would urge them to make their case in front of the Commission and complainants at an oral hearing.
The decision is in Google’s hands, but holding a hearing could provide a unique opportunity for Google to present its full defence and for complainants and other interested third parties to offer their perspectives. We have long believed that transparency and a meaningful debate is in everyone’s best interest, and an oral hearing is an important step in ensuring that such a debate takes place.
We look forward to supporting the Commission in taking the case forward and helping to find robust and workable long-term solutions to remedy the harms caused by Google’s anti-competitive practices. ICOMP’s members, who represent a wide range of interests in the digital sphere, will be keen to ensure that effective remedies are speedily reached.