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Google Charged With Antitrust Violations By European Union

Search monopoly Google has now been formally charged by the European Union’s antitrust chief for anti-competitive practices related to its search dominance and the way its Android mobile software unfairly obligates the use of the company’s own products and services. The charges could lead to fines as well as force Google to change the way it conducts business in Europe.

Google has long been accused of anti-competitive practices both by its competitors and firms that need to use Google search and other software technology as part of their businesses. The charges were instigated partly due to complaints by firms that said Google was abusing its market dominance in search and operating systems.

Google is a strong first in both internet search and the operating system used on mobile devices.

The abuse charge focused on accusations that Google diverts traffic from its rivals to favor its own products and services, particularly websites for shopping. That led the European Commission to issue a set of formal charges, known as a statement of objections. A large number of online operators have complained about Google in areas like mapping and travel.

The commission also said it was stepping up a separate investigation into whether phone makers that agree to use Android — and that also want Google applications like YouTube — face contractual requirements to place those applications and other Google-branded applications in prominent positions on a mobile device…Google’s Android software, which is used by large cellphone makers like Samsung, is the world’s largest operating system with roughly an81 percent market share, according to the technology research company Gartner. Apple holds a 15 percent stake, while Microsoft has a less than 3 percent share.

An issue not at the forefront but surely in the background is Google’s collaboration with US intelligence services such as the NSA in foreign spying operations. With the exception of the UK, all of  the countries in the European Union are outside the Five Eyes intelligence alliance  and are subject to electronic espionage conducted by the NSA in partnership with Google.

Google’s relationship to US power has been well documented perhaps most prominently by Julian Assange of Wikileaks who claims “Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower.” Making Google’s monopoly power and abusive practices to maintain that power all the more troubling.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.