In a report in the Wall Street Journal, European Commission (EC) regulators, are preparing a “supplementary statement of objections” in the existing shopping search antitrust matter The original “statement of objections (which were originally antitrust charges) were filed against Google back in 2015.
Although, in the original charges, teh EC had been focusing exclusively on shopping search, it’s now expected that shopping is a template of sorts for other potential “search bias” cases against Google. If EU’s claims against Google succeeds, other charges that will be similar will probably follow in other vertical search areas, such as local, maps and potentially travel.
In the supplementary statement, the EC can reportedly address arguments and claims made in Google’s formal response to the EC’s original statement of objections. EC’s arguments are reflected in a blog post, where Google vigorously asserts that the evolution of their search pages are all about improving quality and the user experience and aren’t about an abuse of market position:
Google has always worked to improve its services, creating new ways to provide better answers and show more useful ads. We’ve taken seriously the concerns in the European Commission’s Statement of Objections (SO) that our innovations are anti-competitive. The response we filed today shows why we believe those allegations are incorrect, and why we believe that Google increases choice for European consumers and offers valuable opportunities for businesses of all sizes.
Aside from the shopping search action, Google is also facing another antitrust front in Europe, regarding Android-OEM contracts. It’s possible that there will be a third complaint coming soon regarding AdWords publishers agreements.