For Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the experience so far is that being a dominant player while doing business in Europe is not a walk in the park. Here is a company that is facing scrutiny and charges over claims that range from stifling traffic to rival sites to unfairly favoring its own mobile operating system. The list is incomplete without adding the widespread privacy issues surrounding the company in Europe.
The European Commission is charging Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) with violation of the region’s antitrust laws. Google is accused of favoring its own listing services while hurting competitors, primarily because of its online dominance. Beyond the traffic question, Google is also being investigated whether it is unfairly promoting its Android OS to hinder the growth of competing software.
Google gets international reprimand
Outside the U.S. borders, Google is facing unfamiliar environments where anti-competition laws appear different from what the company is used to in the domestic market.
In addition to the antitrust claims that touch on unfair traffic allocation and possible unfair promotion of Android, Google also faces privacy questions in Europe. Claims of privacy violations have increased post the damaging revelations about snooping by the U.S. security agencies.
In China, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) isn’t able to do meaningful business in the country as the government there has right Internet censorship policies.
Obama weighs in the disputes
Even President Barack Obama has seemed to share the plight of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and other technology giants like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in the foreign markets. He recently noted that Europe is taking a protectionist approach that appears aimed at promoting local enterprises at the expense of American companies.
However, Margrethe Vestager, a commissioner with the European antitrust agency, doesn’t think that the matters in questions have anything to do with the origin of the accused company.
Different competition laws
Some observers have also cited that Europe may not be necessarily protectionist in its antitrust laws, but the thing is that they have different laws in Europe compared to the U.S. In Europe, for instance, the anti-competition laws aim to protect both consumers and competitors whereas in the U.S. the focus is more about consumers.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s market dominance in Europe is more profound at 90% than in the U.S. where it controls 75% of the search engine market.