Google is abusing its dominant place in the search market, according to Europe’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia.
In an interview with the Financial Times of London, Google could be forced to change the way that it provides and displays search results or face antitrust charges for “diverting traffic,” in the words of Almunia, referring to Google’s self-serving treatment to its own search services.
Despite the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s move earlier this month to let off Google with a slap on the wrist — albiet, a change to its business practices, a move that financially wouldn’t dent Google in the short term but something any company would seek to avoid — the European Commission is looking to take a somewhat different approach: take its time, and then hit the company hard.
Almunia said in the interview: “We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic,” adding: “They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think — I fear — there is an abuse of this dominant position.”
That’s pretty much as black and white as one can get, short of actually saying: “Google, bad! Here’s a whopping great big fine.”