Rivals: Google antitrust letter an “acknowledgment of guilt”
Search rivals have labelled a letter sent by Google to appease EU antitrust regulators as an “acknowledgment of guilt”.
The search giant yesterday sent a letter to EU officials investigating a string of complaints from rivals, including Microsoft, over allegations the company uses its market leading position to distort competition and push competitors down its search rankings.
European regulators had asked Google to submit “remedy proposals” by this month to avoid a lengthy court case.
Although the contents of the letter remain unclear, it is understood to include those proposals on how Google could overcome antitrust concerns.
However, a Microsoft-backed lobby group launched a scathing attack on the company following the submission.
Today’s acknowledgment of guilt is an important step towards addressing these harms and ensuring a diverse and open Internet
“Despite coming two years late, today’s acceptance of the Commission’s ‘framework’ and possible offer of remedies is a hugely significant acknowledgement by Google of their market dominance and recognition of illegal anti-competitive behaviour,” the Initiative for a Competitive Online Market Place (ICOMP) said in a statement.
Citing a 94% European market share and accusations of wrong-doing in several countries, ICOMP said it was crucial that European regulators pushed for change.
“In all of these cases, consumers and competitors desperately need Google’s abusive practices to end and be prevented from recurring,” the group said. “Today’s acknowledgement of guilt is an important step towards addressing these harms and ensuring a diverse and open internet.”
Google refused to go into details of its letter, merely stating that it believed its proposals met the EU’s initial concerns.
“We have made a proposal to address the four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to work cooperatively with the Commission.”