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US advocacy group lobbies European Commission to block Google's Motorola buyout

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 23 Jan 2012 16:15 User comments (3)

US advocacy group lobbies European Commission to block Google's Motorola buyout US based Consumer Watchdog is lobbying EU regulators to block Google's proposed buyout of Motorola Mobility.
Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit advocacy group who investigates allegations of corporate misconduct and corruption. They have been engaged in a campaign against Google over their data collection and search practices for several years.

In a letter to the European Commission, the body who must ok the deal in Europe, Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson claims Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, combined with their dominance in mobile search and advertising, would create "a virtually unstoppable juggernaut."

Most of their allegations about Google's practices are based on claims from numerous companies who consider Google a competitor. These claims have already resulted in antitrust investigations by the European Commission in Europe and FTC in the US. In addition, Simpson claims Google is pressuring handset vendors to favor Google applications, but fails to cite any evidence in the letter.

He further goes on to suggest a number of other measures he believes are appropriate to reduce Google's power over Internet users around the world:

  • Google could be broken into different companies devoted to different lines of business so there is no incentive to unfairly use search to promote other services. Search could be separated from advertising. Gmail and the new social networking service, Google +, could be spun off as a separate entity, as could YouTube, a Google acquisition that should have been denied at the time of merger. Enterprise applications could be another separate business.

  • Google?s search engine?s importance as a gateway to cyberspace requires a maximum degree of openness and transparency. Google?s monopoly position and importance to the Internet means that the company should be closely regulated. Regulations could be designed to open up Google?s ad platform to enable other competitors to compete. Rules could be crafted to create greater transparency in the operation of Google?s ad platform to enable parties to negotiate more effectively. For example: Providing greater visibility into the maximum amount of the highest bid, how many search terms are shown per page, and how Google?s ?quality score? is derived and applied. Little, if any, of this information is currently public and openness would contribute to consumer choice and options as well as foster competition.

  • Another remedy could be to force Google to disgorge its monopolistic gains through the imposition of financial penalties. The payment would have to be significant enough to impact Google?s future behavior. Google hardly blinked when it paid half a billion dollars to the United States to settle an illegal drug sales case. Perhaps the amount could be tied to paying back consumers for monetizing their private information and content without asking them permission or compensating them.


You can read the entire letter below.

Consumer Watchdog Letter Opposing Google's Buyout of Motorola Mobility

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3 user comments

123.1.2012 18:08

The more Google owns, the better. Hope the merger goes well.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Jan 2012 @ 18:08

223.1.2012 18:15

They are startin to treat Google like Micro$oft back in the day. I just hope Google doesn't end up as retarded as Micro$oft has become.

324.1.2012 14:37

We do no need corporate goliaths.
We've just experienced what 'too big to fail' means (and cost us).

There ought to be a competition law which foreces the break up of all companies once they get to a certain size & level of turn-over/profit.

Otherwise we the consumer citizens will continue to come a very distant 2nd to the corporations in this world & our political institutions will continue to be corrupted by the overwhelming corrosive power of big money.

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