Google’s “Do no Evil” mantra has come under the scanner over the past few years as it has evolved from a search company to a technology giant. Now, the European Union has launched an antitrust investigation against Google to examine allegations that it gives unfair preference to its services over services from other (vertical) search providers. Foundem, (Microsoft-owned) Ciao, Justice.fr are the competitors who complained to the EU.
The European Union intends to analyses several aspects, including search engine results page rank of third party services, the possibility of advertisements from competition being blocked for certain keywords, and also whether it is possible to export advertising campaign data to competing platforms.
Google has defended its policies in a blog article. “At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first by providing the best possible answers as quickly as possible”, emphasized the search engine giant.
If Google is found to have engaged in anti-competitive behavior, then it might be in serious trouble as the European Union tends to be extremely serious about ensuring free and fair competition. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it’s unlikely that Google would have purposefully violated EU norms. They have been under scrutiny over the recent past, and they had to know that something like this is in the pipe. It would have been foolish to risk stringent regulations and massive fines by baiting the European Union.