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Google responds to EU charges that its search results are anti-competitive

Google responds to EU charges that its search results are anti-competitive


The company argues its results have only helped users

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Following the European Union's formal accusation of antitrust practices by Google, the company has now officially responded. Not surprisingly, Google is arguing that the "allegations are incorrect," and that its search practices haven't harmed consumers.

Google's General Counsel is attempting to parry the accusations

The EU's Statement of Objections against Google accused the company of using a monopoly on search — it owns around a 90 percent share of the market in Europe — to unfairly trounce competitors and ultimately harm consumers. The EU's case focuses specifically on Google's use of services like Google Shopping, which it claims receives an unfair edge over other services through search.

In a blog post and video published today, Google General Counsel Kent Walker attempted to parry some of those accusations. "Our response provides evidence and data to show why the SO’s concerns are unfounded," Walker writes. "We use traffic analysis to rebut claims that our ad displays and specialized organic results harmed competition by preventing shopping aggregators from reaching consumers."

Google's results, Walker argues in the post, have resulted in a 227 percent "free traffic" increase for the companies mentioned by the EU. Results have been tweaked to "maximize their relevance" for users, and attempts to change that, according to Walker, would ultimately be detrimental to those users.

This is still a relatively early salvo in what's likely going to be a drawn-out battle. The EU also announced recently that it has opened an investigation into Android, although no formal charges have been filed. (Today's statement does not comment on that investigation.) As The New York Times reports today, a decision on the search-related charges isn't expected until closer to the end of year. The company could face billions of dollars in fines.