Google isn’t backing down in the face of European Union antitrust allegations, saying its search results do not divert online shoppers away from rivals’ shopping comparison services.
Google’s product search is “robustly competitive,” Senior Vice-President Kent Walker said in a blog post that accompanied Google’s formal legal response to the EU charges.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, alleged in April that Google abused its dominance in web searches to benefit some of its own services. The company has roughly 90% of Europe’s search market, compared with around 65% in the United States.
Google could face billions of dollars in fines if it is found to have violated the European Union’s antitrust rules.
But Walker said the commission’s conclusions were “wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics” and that Google “increases choice for European consumers and offers valuable opportunities for businesses of all sizes.”
Multiple online shopping services including Amazon and eBay, he said, compete against Google and, instead of stifling competition, Google sent roughly 20 billion referrals to other Internet companies in Europe over the last decade, leading to a 227% increase in web traffic to those sites.
Walker also wrote that Google’s searches provided users with “quality” results from their online queries. The commission’s “peculiar and problematic remedy” of requiring that Google show ads sourced and ranked by other companies “would harm the quality and relevance [of] our results,” he wrote.
The complainants against Google include a number of American companies, like Microsoft and Yelp, as well as several European technology, media, and publishing companies.
“Google has decimated competition,” a lawyer for FairSearch Europe, which represents Google’s rivals, said in a statement. “Consumers have been harmed — and paid higher prices.”
According to The New York Times, a final decision in the case is not expected until late this year, at the earliest.