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back to article You, Google. Get back here and bend over again - EU antitrust chief

Brussels' antitrust chief has demanded Google once again rejigs its web search business - or risk a fat fine for breaching EU competition law. Joaquin Almunia told reporters today that he has asked the advertising giant "to present better proposals, or improved proposals" to address accusations that it abused its dominant …

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Facepalm

Does it matter

For competition you need two parties Google has Bing backed by MS, how the f*ck can Google low ball MS.

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Re: Does it matter

Oh dear, I hope this was an attempt at some form of satire.

Do you even know what this is all about?

Anyway, my take on this is that the EU should stop pussy footing around Google, asking them to rework their offering. They obviously will only except it in a certain form, get some balls and tell Google what should happen.

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Megaphone

Money must be tight in the euro trough, perhaps trying to drum up some fine revenue.

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Joke

Well we're going to tax the buggers someway or another...

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Anonymous Coward

easier to do it this way than to get politicians to admit they messed up when drafting the law ...

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On the take?

I think it is time that Google hires some very good private investigators to determine who "owns" Almunia. This sort of activity is highly indicative of a possibility of corruption...

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Facepalm

Re: On the take?

He doesn't need to be "owned" by anyone - he's just yet another clueless career politician doing what comes naturally, i.e. grandstanding and being a publicity whore. It's easy enough to find his bio on the web.

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Re: On the take?

He who shouts loudest is heard. Google have followed the letter of the law and been successful. These other companies have not (been successful that is) and they need a scape goat. As there is a large number (mostly companies nobody has ever heard of, or who haven't updated their websites since the mid 90s) and they're making a large noise, Almunia has to look into it or look like he's on googles take.

Right now he's pushing for reforms. The US has accepted googles original proposal, Almunia has pushed for more, they'll keep on pushing and google will keep on pulling and we'll eventually reach a standstill. Right now that standstill is pretty close.

I doubt google will be fined, because frankly they have broken no laws.

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Windows

Well Google is still rigging the search results... time to pay up.

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Agreed

Google have repeatedly abused their monopoly in the search arena. Just because their nearest competitor in this sector is Microsoft doesn't mean they shouldn't be punished.

Indeed, as Microsoft got slapped with a fine for the Browser Selection phew-Rory, it only seems fair that Google receive a bit of attention too from the antitrust brigade.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Agreed

But microsoft received a fine only a 10th of what it could have been for breaking their promise, and were also not forced to extend their sentence. but they promised to extend it themselves. Yeah right! Of course they Will.

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Anonymous Coward

The Googletards are awake, I see

Lawmaker to Google: follow the law or get fined. Here is the law and what you do wrong, let me know how you get on, and don't forget that we have such things as deadlines.

Google to lawmaker: what we do is good enough in OUR opinion, so stop pestering us.

I note that every time Google is asked to simply comply with the law, all the apologists come out of the woodwork. Is Google somehow exempt because it came up with this "do not evil" joke?

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Re: The Googletards are awake, I see

The problem is that there is no way Google can satisfy the demands of Almunia and especially the competitors.

The competitors claim that Google shafts them in search results, Google claims it does not, they just appear lower because their websites are crap and/or users don't click on them. And since there is no way to reconcile that without Google giving all details of their ranking system (which is obviously never going to happen), there is no way out. The competitors have no interest in agreeing to anything, since they have every advantage in causing trouble for Google.

The problem Almunia has with Google is not a particular law that Google is breaking. It's not like he's able to say: "This part of what Google does is wrong", because there is no single part that is wrong; otherwise it would be easy to just tell Google "do this exactly or else". His problem is that Google controls a larger part of the market than is healthy. So he has to ask Google to "do more", even though he does not know what exactly.

So he is going to ask for more and more using the threat of fines until he feels that he cannot get any more. Google on its side is going to try to give in as little as possible without actually telling him to sod off. And competitors are going to complain as loudly as possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Googletards are awake, I see

There si also the issue that, many of the things competitors (read bing) accuse google of doing, are the exact same things they themselves are doing.

Consider google a supermarket, and all these other companies products.

Google makes their own premium quality pasta. All these other companies make their own pasta which is for sale, but the google pasta has a more prominent position on the shelf. These other companies don't like this because google is a well known brand. Bing and Yahoo are doing the exact same thing, but they aren't as successful so it's okay.

Then along come BorisCo, they pay google to display BorisCo quality pasta in a prime position. These other companies don't like this either because somebody has paid for a better position in the store, something they aren't willing / able to do.

Google have broken no laws, they have done nothing wrong except for growing to their current dominant size. The majority of what they've done as a business has followed the same rules as other businesses in the market, the difference is google has done it well.

Yahoo, microsoft, lycos, altavista, etc etc search engines used to exist. Google came out of nowhere and provided a simple search which worked. It blew them out of the water and pushed google into the prime position.

Many of those other companies already owned or had deals with companies offering mapping services. Google created their own mapping service which was aimed at being superior to the existing mapping applications so far as quality is concerned, their map blew other maps out of the water.

Many other of those companies mentioned before offered reviews, or the ability to search for reviews of products, google skipped the middleman and used aggregates from other websites to provide overall reviews when you search for a hotel / product. These reviews are publically avaliable and provided by individuals, the reviews although contained on these sites are not the sole copywritten content of the sties. What google did in aggregating these results was not illegal.

So on so forth.

The only difference is that google has been successful in diong this, and has built their stuff to beat the competition, and they have continued to innovate and improve. Many other companies built a product, were happy with it, and then sat on it for a decade (msn, yahoo) google came along and shook them up and they had no way to fight back. By the time they dusted off their notes and got a team assembled to innovate, google had finished trouncing them and moved on to the next project. They went from a dominant position to playing constant catchup because they rested on their laurels.

If anything we should all be thinking google, they took the internet from a pretty stale state and forced all these other companies to innovate, something they'd given up on. The same can be said of Apple as much as I hate to admit it when it comes to tablets and smartphones.

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Re: The Googletards are awake, I see

It can be summed up much more simply as this:

If I go to Google and ask it something, I want it to take me to the answer, not to another search engine that may or may not have the answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Googletards are awake, I see

My way had more words, ergo it was better (according to the way colleges mark things)

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Re: The Googletards are awake, I see

@AC15:36 "Google makes their own premium quality pasta. All these other companies make their own pasta which is for sale, but the google pasta has a more prominent position on the shelf. These other companies don't like this because google is a well known brand. Bing and Yahoo are doing the exact same thing, but they aren't as successful so it's okay."

You could just as easily have applied your self same argument to the Windows/IE situation. Turns out if you're in a monopoly position, as Microsoft were and as Google now is, that just doesn't cut it as a justification any more.

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Anonymous Coward

Cha ching.

Google is a cash register for Brussels.

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Do no evil.

I think we can agree that the past is over...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do no evil.

I think we can agree that the past is over...

I don't think so. This is all driven by money. Once abiding by the law is more profitable than breaking it it'll correct itself. I wouldn't term them fully evil, just serious money grabbing bastards, which is what being a US company is all about. It's not like some of the more enlightened families a couple of centuries ago where the Medici commissioned serious art (and the piano forte, I think), or the Rothchilds actually created better housing for people - the best we can get to is Gates now finally giving money for science instead as a booster for Microsoft.

I wish they'd start competing there, or even pay *some* tax to help the economies they milk, but I'm drifing off topic here :/.

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Two tribes go to war.

"The competitors claim that Google shafts them in search results, Google claims it does not, they just appear lower because their websites are crap"

Wasn't this every user's experience until Apple went tribal?

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Anonymous Coward

Makes me laugh

Google offer a free service and promote their own other free services. Yes they collate data on you and target adverts based on what you are searching for, but it's just stupid. Where do you draw the line? If you go to an Audi Garage and buy a car they have loads of posters and adverts for Audi servicing.... Surely that's anti-competitive to poor old Kevin Webster in the local garage?

It pisses me off. What's the point in trying to make new products and innovate existing products when the EU will just piss on you for offering alternatives that prove to be better than the competition

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did G even 'bend over'?

Lost me at "bend over *AGAIN*"... I didn't notice them bending over on the 1st proposal, more sticking 2 fingers up to Microsoft/Fairsearch with utterly trivial changes that if anything will fuck over Fairsearch and Bing even better!

None of the complainants are happy with the Google proposal, hardly the sign of a concession being made.

Almunia can rig the rules but ultimately a court has to decide if they were broken if he can't bluster cooperation out of Google. Accusation != proof, even for Eurocrats. Almunia is overplaying his hand.

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Traffic

Still not entirely sure why Google is responsible for increasing traffic to your site? Nor why it needs to make things easy for advertisers.

The first is down to the content on your site, so if its pointless drivel then no I'm not going there, wherever it appears on Google.

And of course the advertisers have a hard time, no consumer actually wants to see adverts. Some accept that they are a required part of having free stuff on the net, but that still doesn't mean they want Google to make it easy for them.

Also there's been no proof that Google is blocking or hindering the development of Bing or any other search engine...so its probably that the other services aren't as good...

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Re: Traffic

That's great, in theory. However Google have the power to ensure your site never appears high in the search results, no matter how great your site is. Even if a user searches directly by your brand name, Google can instead direct them to one of their own competing services. And that is what they have been doing. Given the reliance people place on web searching these days, it makes competing with Google almost impossible for anyone and that damages the overall quality of services available (because Google have no need to make a better service if they can simply quash any viable competition before the customer even gets there)

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