The EU is fining Google for abuse of positioning of its search engine: what’s the big deal? Well, last week, The Guardian reported that Google was fined a record £3.8 billion for forcing some apps on Android devices to default to Google’s own search engine.
Sure, any user can remove Google and replace it with an alternative such as DuckDuckGo or the environmentally conscious Ecosia – but this is missing the point. It’s about its positioning as the main search engine by default.
The case has some similarities with the EU’s beef with Microsoft and Internet Explorer. There are very clear differences between the US and EU regarding the abuse of a potentially monopolistic position. The EU viewed this as anti-competitive.
Is the EU forcing Google to change?
Another serious issue is that the EU appears to be forcing Google to change how it conducts searches and serves up results – especially for shopping sites. The conflation of its own shopping site as a search function, means that other sites such as Yell were not able to compete.
So, in effect, Google’s stranglehold on search engines to underline its position as the go-to site for searching for literally anything was going to get worse. This is what the EU objected to. Expect an appeal. This article in Wired explores the interrelationship between the EU and US and gives a great overview of the rifts and tensions on both sides of the pond.
Of course, this is almost a sub-plot to the growing contretemps between the large global trade blocs. The bigger picture here is the tit-for-tat tariff hikes imposed by China, the USA and EU could be the beginning of a full-scale global trade war.
ITGUY watches with interest!
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