Here Is Google’s Internal Response to the Imminent EU Charges (Memo)

 

On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) is expected to drop the hammer on EUGoogle, charging the company with violating antitrust rules with its search dominance. It’s the tail end of a five-year investigation from the EU’s competition commission, and a prolonged regulatory headache for the search giant. It could be costly too: The EU is reportedly plotting a fine as large as $6.4 billion, roughly a tenth of Google’s annual revenue. The Financial Times first reported the news.

And Google is prepping a response. Re/code obtained an internal memo discussing the impending charges. Google calls the EU’s decision “very disappointing news.” To make its case, the memo includes a trio of charts, from comScore and Google internal data, showing shopping site searches in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, along with a travel search in Germany. Searches on Amazon and eBay far exceed those on Google Shopping (perhaps not helping Google’s creeping concern over Amazon’s emergence in search). Google’s missive also mentions that it is expecting the E.U. Commission for Competition to also open up an investigation into Android on Wednesday. “We have a very strong case,” the memo concludes.

Here’s the memo that went out:As the Financial Times has just reported, the European Commission will tomorrow issue a Statement of Objections (SO) regarding the display and ranking of certain search results, in particular shopping. This is obviously very disappointing news, especially for the search team that has worked so hard to create a great experience for our users over the last 16 years.

 

First, a few facts about the SO process. An SO is not a final finding. It’s a document in which the Commission staff sets out its preliminary arguments so that the company in question can respond. Expect some of the criticism to be tough. But remember, it’s also an opportunity for Google to tell our side of the story. The back-and-forth over an SO can take some time (even a year or two), and in a number of cases has resulted in the Commission modifying their claims or settling the case.  Read more