Google and the European Union have a long history of disputes, and it doesn’t seem as though they’re going to end anytime soon. This time, the EU wants to force Google to modify its search results all throughout Europe because it believes that the Internet giant favors its own services, something that goes against the European Union’s standards of free competition.
The Spanish newspaper El País published an interview with the EU’s Competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia from Spain, in which he warns Google about its illegal practices with its search engine. Almunia stated that the way in which the hierarchy of results appears is not in line with the European Union’s idea of just and free competition. Because of this, they are currently investigating the company to find out whether or not Google drives traffic towards its own services with aims to earn money for its business. This would be the second investigation in regards to competition that Google has faced in the last year – in May there was an investigation into the possible abuse of its dominant position among search engines.
This comes as a position that is contrary to that of the United States, and that of the Federal Trade Commission, which at one time ruled that Google, as a private enterprise, is free to do as it wishes with its search results, even if that means favoring its own services above those of the competition.
If the investigation finds Google guilty of displaying results that favor services such as Google+, Maps, or YouTube, the giant based in Mountain View would not only have to modify the search results if it wants to maintain a presence in European territory, but it would also have to face high economic sanctions. Microsoft already found out how costly these can be when it had to pay almost €500 million for abusing its dominant position.