Responses to Google’s First Set of Proposed Remedies to the European Commission

On 25 April 2013, the European Commission released Google’s proposal to settle the EC’s investigation into four concerns that the search giant may be illegally abusing its dominant position in online search and search advertising. Read below for some of the public responses.

European Publishers Urge European Commission to Challenge Google Further

25 June 2013

“If Google does not come up with fundamentally improved proposals very soon, we call on the Commission to use its full legal powers, including an immediate Statement of Objections with effective remedies. Fair and non-discriminatory search with equal criteria for all websites is an essential prerequisite for the prosperous development of the European media and technology sector.”

Prof. Dr. Hubert Burda, speaking on behalf of hundreds of European publishers and their trade associations.

Link to Press Release

FairSearch: “It would be better to do nothing than to accept Google’s proposals” to the European Commission

25 June 2013

“Google’s proposal would turn a competition abuse into an additional revenue stream for Google. Far from solving the Commission’s competition concerns this proposal will raise competitors’ costs, limit choice and cement Google’s anti-competitive behaviour. Consumers deserve better.”

Thomas Vinje, counsel and spokesman for FairSearch Europe

CEPIC — Centre of the Picture Industry comments on Google proposals

27 May 2013

“The proposed remedies are inappropriate and contain numerous deficiencies. In fact, if implemented the commitments would probably hurt website publishers and content providers even more than Google’s present conduct. Therefore, we expect the Commission to reject the commitment proposals made by Google in their entirety.”

CEPIC

Link to Press Release

BEUC — The European Consumer Organisation Response to Market Test in Google Case

24 May 2013

“It is important that Google is obliged to use an objective, non-discriminatory mechanism to rank and display all search results, including any links to Google products … Structural remedies are essential for restoring competition and promoting innovation in the online environment. We therefore call upon the European Commission to reject the current proposals and ensure that non-discrimination principle is the starting point of the remedies.”

BEUC

ProSiebenSat.1 Response: “We fear that the commitments will further reinforce Google’s dominant position”

24 May 2013

“ProSiebenSat.1 believes that the commitments are not likely to even partially dispel the competition concerns resulting from Google’s behaviour. On the contrary, we fear that the commitments will further reinforce Google’s dominant position.”

Conrad Albert and Dr. Michael Miler, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG

Please note this filing has been translated from German.

Consumer Watchdog Letter to European Commission

24 May 2013

“Consumer welfare is the ultimate test of any antitrust settlement. Google’s proposed
Commitments fail to meet this standard. Approval of the Commitments would essentially legitimatize Google’s anticompetitive practices and give the company more tools to strengthen its dominance.”

John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog privacy project director

Foundem’s Initial Analysis of Google’s Proposals

14 May 2013

“The proposed changes would have no impact on Google’s ability to systematically penalize rivals in its natural search results and would do nothing to curtail the unassailable advantage that Universal Search affords Google’s own services. In fact, in many important respects, the proposed changes would make things considerably worse.”

Adam Raff and Shivaun Raff, Co-founders of Foundem and SearchNeutrality.org

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