When the European Union made its statement of objections against Google known, it alleged that the search engine systematically favored its own “comparison shopping product in its general search results pages.”
This was the basis of its antitrust argument because Google, according to the EU, was stifling competition and harming consumers.
However, Google senior VP Amit Singhal posted on the company’s official blog today that, if anything, the EU was still a competitive marketplace, as was the rest of the internet. “Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating—or dominated by one player. Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world,” he wrote.
To support this, Singhal pointed to graphs and bulletpoints that the search engine is in competition with Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo and with digital personal assistant like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, and that “specialized” sites like Amazon, eBay and Expedia were still popular with consumers. He also pointed out that many turn to social media sites for local recommendations and that many sites traffic comes from sources other than Google.
The company paid particular attention to European sites like Idealo (a German shopping destination) and Qwant (a French search engine) as to competition from the EU’s own home court. European digital publishing house Axel Springer have investments in both Idealo and Qwant and Google quoted it as stating, in a news release, that “there is a lot of innovation on the search market.”
Antitrust actions take years to resolve. One thing’s for sure — the EU and Google are far from their last words about this.