Ramon TREMOSA i BALCELLS (ALDE) and Andreas SCHWAB (EPP) on the European Commission’s decision in the Google shopping antitrust case

27/06/2017

"We very much welcome the European Commission’s prohibition decision in the Google shopping antitrust case. Better later than never, but seven years have been still an eternity for some market players, in particular European SMEs”, both Tremosa and Schwab stated and continued “Commissioner Vestager has shown that she wanted to grasp the details of this case and thereby come to the right conclusion, which will create a precedent for the digital economy. It’s clear and obvious that Google’s abuse of dominance is problematic, having over 90 per cent of the market in Europe on computer desktop. And it can't be underestimated how fast growing "search" on mobile devices is, where really only the first page of search results counts.

 The non-discrimination principle and transparency are a must not only in web search results, but also in the choice of Apps or operating systems. We expect the Commission to come forward with legislation in this respect!”

 

Ramon Tremosa i Balcells said: “Today is a new start for Google relation with the EU. When it comes down to the fine, I always said: first, you pay the fine and, then, you restore competition and the level playing field like it was the case with Microsoft. I believe that the fine should be retroactive for each year since the beginning of the wrongdoing by Google. This fine is far from the theoretic fine of 10% of Google annual revenues. The Fine should be multiplied by the number of years since the start of the damage to competitors. Moreover, the behaviour of Google since the SO and from today should be taken into account as well. Time helps monopolies not SMEs"

 

Andreas Schwab stated: “I welcome the approach of the Commission to have a closer look at the digital economy. This decision is the first step to bring back a level-playing field between smaller European businesses and the OTTs like Google. And, it will definitely not be the last one.

For the Commission, this is a record fine. For Google, however, it is effectively the net profit of half a week. Therefore, this fine should also be seen as an incitement for a fairer behaviour in the market and less as a punishment for the company.”

  

Background:

Both Members of Parliament have been following the Google antitrust cases in detail in the last 5 years and, in 2013 already, have suggested to former Competition Commissioner Almunia not to settle with Google in the shopping services investigation. They have repeatedly raised criticism and doubts about the effectiveness and the impact of Google's set of commitments and real intentions in the comparison shopping. In November 2014, they pushed the well-known "unbundling" proposal of Google in a resolution of the European Parliament, which was voted by an overwhelming majority (over 600 Members) of the house.