Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Google "denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate," the European Commission said. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Google Fine Shows EU 'Way Ahead' of US on Reining in Massive Corporations

"The wonder is that U.S. regulators, who once upon a time had an honourable record of acting against powerful monopolists, have been so supine with the technology giants."

Jake Johnson

In a move commentators characterized as a "promising" step in the direction of regulating and reining in large and powerful tech firms, the European Commission on Tuesday slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine for violating antitrust rules and "abus[ing] its market dominance."

"American antitrust authorities are so pathetic as to be irrelevant."
—Matt Stoller, New America
Specifically, the commission noted in a press release, Google was penalized for using its leverage to give "an illegal advantage" to its own shopping service, which had the effect of boxing out potential competition.

Matt Stoller, a fellow at New America's Open Markets Program, responded by saying that the EU's decision to take action against Google provides a stark contrast to the inaction of American regulators, who have in recent years done relatively little to prevent large companies from merging and drowning out competitors.

"This $2.7 [billion] fine is not a parking ticket for Google," Stoller wrote. "It opens the door to civil suits. And Google has to change its behavior."

Leadership on curbing monopoly power has been in Europe, not the U.S., "for some time," Stoller added. "American antitrust authorities are so pathetic as to be irrelevant."

The fine—the largest ever leveled against a single company by the EU in an antitrust case—marks the end of a seven-year investigation into Google's practices.

The commission further explained its decision:

The Commission Decision does not object to the design of Google's generic search algorithms or to demotions as such, nor to the way that Google displays or organises its search results pages (e.g. the display of a box with comparison shopping results displayed prominently in a rich, attractive format). It objects to the fact that Google has leveraged its market dominance in general internet search into a separate market, comparison shopping. Google abused its market dominance as a search engine to promote its own comparison shopping service in search results, whilst demoting those of rivals.

"What Google has done is illegal under [European Union] antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation," said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager in a statement.

In an op-ed for the Guardian, journalist Nils Pratley echoed Stoller's argument.

The E.U. regulators' "consumer-friendly action...should be applauded," he wrote, adding that the move could have "far-reaching consequences."

"The wonder is that U.S. regulators, who once upon a time had an honourable record of acting against powerful monopolists, have been so supine with the technology giants," Pratley concluded.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Huge Win': Green Groups Applaud Biden Move to Protect Minnesota Watershed

"You don't allow America's most toxic industry next to America's most popular wilderness," said one environmental campaigner.

Brett Wilkins ·

Taking Aim at Predatory Equity Firms, Warren Leads Bill to 'Stop Wall Street Looting'

"Now is the time," asserted Sen. Bernie Sanders, "to end Wall Street's greed, protect workers, and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·

Arizona Groups Demand Sinema 'Stop Obstructing' on Medicare Expansion

The diverse coalition called on the Democratic senator to back "bold drug pricing reform" and "critical improvements to Medicare's coverage" in the reconciliation package.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Should Be a No-Brainer': Biden Pushed to Back Long-Term Child Tax Credit Extension

"Putting money in the pockets of those who need it most is good for the children and families receiving it, good for local businesses, and helps protect this fragile economic recovery."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo