Brussels Nannycrats Lay More Charges on Google

The anti-free trade consortium in Brussels is leveling more charges at Google. The EU nannycrats just cannot stand or deal with a successful business that people like.

The Financial Times reports Brussels Piles New Charges on Google as Vestager Digs In.

Brussels launched another volley of competition complaints against Google on Thursday, marking the latest gambit in a protracted antitrust saga.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition enforcer, issued two extra sets of charges against the US group, alleging that it abused its search clout to muscle out smaller rivals in online advertising and shopping comparison markets.

However, rather than significantly broadening the regulatory assault against Google, the moves largely consolidate the European Commission’s position as it edges towards infringement decisions and possible fines. These would only come to pass in 2017 at the earliest — some eight years after the first complaint against Google was filed.

The new charges create a three-front legal battle line with Google by adding to allegations in April related to the Android mobile operating system, which are potentially the most problematic for the company. Google has rejected any wrongdoing and said its “innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition”.

Competition investigators generally wish to avoid additional charge sheets, which indicate their legal case is trickier than first expected. But the concession does not mean the investigation is dead — Ms Vestager stressed such follow-up charges were issued in Brussels’ successful cases against Microsoft and Intel.

Indeed, her decision signals that she is raising her stakes and is likely to see the matter through to a decision and possible fine — rather than opting for a settlement — according to legal analysts.

“She is doubling down. They are sinking their teeth in further and they will finish the shopping case. That is plain,” said Alec Burnside, a lawyer at Cadwalader acting for complainants in a separate matter against Google.

Meet Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s “Competition Enforcer”


Google Tax in Spain

In a stunning display of stupidity, Spain passed a “Google Tax” that charged news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories. Rather than pay the tax, Google left.

Then, in an amazing twist of irony, the publishers who were in favor of the tax, demanded Google stay.

A study shows Spain’s “Google tax” has been a disaster for publishers.

A study commissioned by Spanish publishers has found that a new intellectual property law passed in Spain last year, which charges news aggregators like Google for showing snippets and linking to news stories, has done substantial damage to the Spanish news industry.

In the short-term, the study found, the law will cost publishers €10 million, or about $10.9 million, which would fall disproportionately on smaller publishers. Consumers would experience a smaller variety of content, and the law “impedes the ability of innovation to enter the market.”

The study concludes that there’s no “theoretical or empirical justification” for the fee. The full study (PDF) is available for download; it’s in Spanish with an English-language executive summary.

The law, which provides for fines of up to $758,000 for violators, was passed in October. Unlike previous attempts to impose a “Google News tax” in Germany and Belgium, the Spanish law doesn’t allow publishers to opt out. In response, Google simply closed down Google News in Spain.

Whatever loss of traffic occurs due to readers who may read a news aggregator and then choose not to read an entire story, is more than made up for by the “market expansion” effect, the study found. In other words, given access to a news aggregator like Google, people read much more news.

The NERA analysis found a 6 percent overall drop in traffic from the Spanish Google News closure and a 14 percent drop for smaller publications.

The entire notion there needs to be a “Competition Enforcer” is idiotic in and of itself. People use Google because they like Google. Others use Firefox because they like Firefox.

The market is fully capable of deciding what needs to be, not “competition enforcer” bureaucrats demanding mediocrity.

Margrethe Vestager and her nannycrat idiocy provides a stellar example as to why the UK should be pleased to be out of the EU.


With a tip of the hat to reader Crysangle, please check out this link to what remains of Google News in Spain.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock