US Antitrust move to make Google fight on two fronts

by Jack Bibey | Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 | 475 views

It might not be soon before Google might be fighting on two different fronts , antitrust battles . After looking for almost two years on if the company has been found to be abusing the local competition laws , the European Commission would be filing formal charges against Google or else agree for a significant settlement.

The Federal Trade Commission , which also began its  examination on Google last year , is also said to be starting an antitrust inquiry . The news comes after the commission went into hiring a federal prosecutor last week for leading any potential case.

The situation will be tougher for Google in Europe, where there is a low threshold for assessing dominance or monopoly in markets even though both European Commission and FTC are investigating on similar issues.  The regulators in Europe have more power than their counterparts in Unites States , and do not need  permission from courts for imposing sanctions.

FTC’s move will help the European Union in emboldening the competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia , for sending a the Statement of Objections , the formal charges against Google .

The authorities on antitrust in European countries were weary as they were being blamed for being too harsh on the technology firms in the U.S like Google and Microsoft. Therefore the investigation in the U.S will help Almunia to move faster with the case.

Google on the other hand , has said that it is aware that their prominence might invite scrutiny , but the search services – which are free for its users –  but that  doesn’t mean that there are no more search engines competing in the markets. Their business might trigger interests and investigations , but they always have worked hard on explaining the way their business works , though adding that there is always a scope for improvement.

In the major markets in Europe , the shares of Google have more than ninety percent market share compared to the significantly low market share of seventy percent in the U.S .

It is not likely that they will press charges unless they have strong prospects for litigating in the U.S but bringing in of a prosecutor is definitely a signal by the commission that it is meaning business.  Regulators have been taking depositions and subpoenas have been issued involving Google and some other firms . They are trying to find if Google has abused its dominance in search and advertising , giving advantage to its own  products while maintaining that it offers neutral results for all its customers.

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