Following on the heels of Expedia filing an antitrust claim against Google in Europe, fellow FairSearch.org member TripAdvisor has also filed a complaint against Google with the EU.
My sense is that this is part of a coordinated effort to put more pressure on the EU to bring formal antitrust charges against the company. EU antitrust commissioner Joaquín Almunia has said that a decision about whether to formally charge Google will come after the Easter holiday in Europe.
If I’m correct and there’s some coordination behind the scenes going on, we can expect more companies to take similar action in the next week or so.
I discovered this morning that the available remedies to the European and American antitrust investigations against Google are different. In Europe regulators can impose fines against the company (among other measures), whereas an FTC action in the US can only bring injunctive relief. The US State Attorneys General may have other remedies however.
Accordingly fines would not be available to the FTC to “punish” or remedy anti-competitive practices if liability were found against Google. By the same token regulating the SERP is also probably not in the cards. This argues for a “process” or procedural remedy. However no finding of liability has been made against Google at this point.
I do expect the Europeans, however, to bring formal charges in the next two weeks.
- Expedia Adds Complaint To Anti-Google Chorus In Europe
- Google Now Under Formal Investigation In US, Europe For Cookiegate
- 36 State Attorneys General Call For Privacy Meeting With Google
- Europeans, EPIC Bring More Scrutiny To Google Privacy Changes
- EU Ready To Impose Tough Privacy Rules On Google, Facebook
- Google Outspends Microsoft In DC Lobbying In 2011
- Q1 Now The Deadline For Decision On EU Antitrust Complaint Against Google