Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is currently undergoing a probe by the European Commission in the way the company runs its search engine. The probe is now in its third year, and Google’s competitors have had enough. A group of eleven companies has sent letter to the Commission urging it to rule against Google and to do it soon.
The letter, which is signed by the original complainants in the case, a British shopping service named Foundem, looked for “effective and future-proof” concession from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in order to ensure that its competition does not get in the way of a smaller rival’s growth.
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One contributor at Forbes, Tim Worstall, has an excellent take on the letter. He points out that though you do have the right to be protected from unfair competition, you don’t have the right to be protected from someone doing a better job than you are. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) rose to the top of the search and advertising pile not because of collusion, but because it did it better than everyone else.
The company does have a massive advantage due to its constantly upgrading and improving algorithms and the sheer amount of research it is able to do in its search feature, but in business this is called a moat
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is currently hoping to settle the anti trust case without having to make any major changes to its service. Competitors don’t think that’s a fair outcome, but Google, according to the results of a similar case in the United States, isn’t doing anything particularly wrong. As the Forbes article points out, the company doesn’t really have a Monopoly on search.
Though user numbers may suggest otherwise, search is a competitive market. The only things stopping consumers from leaving Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) search is better branding and a better service. If one of those changes, people can simply set their home page to Alta Vista, or any other search service.
Google is not restricting the business of other companies, but it is doing a better job of collating the abundance of information on the web than anyone else. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is not a monopoly, and competitors are going to have to learn to live with that.