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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Search Site Accused Google of Antitrust

Product search online service called Foundem has said that Google was directly targeting household name search websites via Google Panda, with the algorithm being central to ongoing antitrust cases. The website kicked off the antitrust investigation of EC against Google after it monitored their website drop down the page rankings upon introduction of Universal Search four years ago.

After the website first presented the case against the search giant, both sides of the Atlantic launched an official investigation, which has centered around the company’s leveraging of its dominance, 95% of the European market, to favor its lucrative forays into other things like maps and product search. Today, with an ongoing high profile investigation carried out by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, Foundem thinks that the search giant is close to facing retribution from the watchdogs upon flouting anticompetitive legislation with Panda.

Foundem owners have put the case for the search giant’s abuse of its dominant position to both the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. They claim that Google has upped its attack on rival services by using Panda update to its search algorithm. The service founders hope the European Commission will understand the urgency of these issues and come to a decision soon, hopefully finding the search giant guilty of abusing its dominant position in both search and search advertising. Indeed, Foundem has some compelling evidence, aimed to prove that Google has abused its position while moving into product search, and now it is trying to stop Google from sending rival companies spiraling down search rankings. This past September Google boss was called before the Senate in order to discuss antitrust allegations.

The plaintiffs claim that the search giant needs to clearly disclose when it inserts its own services into its own search results. They also want Google to stop discriminating in favor of its own services. However, the European Commission can only apply a 10% fine in the best course of action, while the money doesn’t matter here, because the fine of this size is undoubtedly insignificant to Google. Instead, the innovative businesses crushed by the engine’s tactics are looking forward to a set of remedies able to stop Google’s anticompetitive behavior.

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