Google Rejects EU’s Antitrust Charge

Search giant Google today dismissed demands by the European Union (EU) to change how it ranks online comparison-shopping services in its search results.

In particular, Google said the EUEUs charges donEUt consider the rapid growth of Amazon and eBay, each of which poses a new competitive threat that undercuts the EU's contention that Google has competitively harmed other comparison-shopping companies such as Nextag and LeGuide.

The charges by the EU were detailed in a Statement of Objections (SO) released in the spring. Google had been scheduled to file its response by August 17, but was given a two-week extension.

In its formal response, Google argued that the European blocEUs antitrust regulators were mistaken in the way they analyzed the fast-changing online-shopping business. Google also claimed the SO misinterpreted GoogleEUs impact on rival shopping-comparison services and failed to properly back up the EUEUs legal claims. Asking Google to change how it ranks comparison-shopping sites would require legal justifications the EU doesnEUt have, the company claimed.

Intensely Competitive

In a blog post, Kent Walker, Google senior vice president and general counsel, maintained that the product search market is intensely competitive, adding that GoogleEUs method of showing ads based on structured data provided by merchants improves ad quality and helps consumers find what theyEUre looking for.

"We show these ad groups where weEUve always shown ads -- to the right and at the top of organic results -- and we use specialized algorithms to maximize their relevance for users," Walker said. "Data from users and advertisers confirms they like these formats. ThatEUs not EUfavoringEU -- thatEUs giving our customers and advertisers what they find most useful. We believe that the SOEUs preliminary conclusions are wrong as a matter fact, law and economics."

Long Fight

Google and the EU have been doing battle since 2010, when the EU opened a formal...

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