Google conducted an exclusive event in the month of August last year, and the main attendees were the Googlers. At this event, a debate took place between the Internet firm’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and the CEO of Vodafone – Vittorio Colao, who said “We love Google, but we fear Google.” Vodafone is a major opponent of Google in the Europe.
Google at risk in Europe
For many it could be taken as just a simple ‘war of words’ between two powerful people, but the fact is that Google’s business in Europe is not going very well, and it faces serious risks.
An antitrust case against the company was filed almost a year ago that is still nowhere close to settlement. The U.S. firm is going through intense scrutiny in Europe as the company has been accused of failures by several European companies. While it has not affected the company’s results to date, it is very likely that the company would have to pay a massive fine of up to $6 billion, and this will definitely affect its business negatively in Europe.
Google’s search and Android products dominate their respective sectors in Europe, and if it loses this market then it will come as a serious blow to the Internet firm. The details come from a report published in Bloomberg Businessweek, which talks in detail about how Google is losing the battle in Europe.
Google almost escaped the investigation
At one point of time, Google almost escaped the investigation without any harm because of efforts made by Joaquin Almunia. This person is a former European Union competition commissioner, and he made sincere efforts for getting the matter settled in favor of Google. Almunia was in favor of approving the third Google settlement, but he failed to convince his peers to vote for it, and his term came to an end last fall.
Almunia’s successor, Margrethe Vestager, appears in no mood to compromise. The European Commission “intends to set the fine at a level, which will be sufficient to ensure deterrence,” read the documents obtained by Bloomberg.
Axel Springer is among the biggest and the most influential German-based media companies. Google’s event and the debate was attended by the CEO of Axel Springer, Mathias Dopfner, who wrote an open letter to Schmidt titled “Why we fear Google.” The letter was published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – a German publication.