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Google vs. EU: Is it Time for Leaders to Step In

21st Century – The Modern Era of transformation, technology, leadership and innovation.

With a global citizenship and leadership mindset, European roots and living 15 + years in the US, I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on The European Commission (EC) and their formal antitrust charges against Google for “skewing results to favor its comparison-shopping service”. 

Like most of you, the first search engine I ever used was Google. In many ways it’s hard to believe that the company was founded last century (okay, 1998). Since that time we’ve witnessed changes too numerous to mention here. Suffice to say the 21st Century has been shaped by companies like Google. And while not every change has been joyous (think annoying pop-up ads), the reality is that we all need to be adaptable and flexible to not only survive personally and professionally but to thrive in the modern era.

Now you must wonder why is the EC taking the anti-trust action against Google? What did Google do or not do this time? Is this a new or old issue?

In order to understand this issue better, we need to take a look at the both sides of the coin. Why? When dealing with corporations’ rights to serve their own best interests, a wide range of the rules apply that need to be respected not just in the U.S. and Europe, but around the world.

1. The EC statement of objections to Google  and its new scope of investigation includes the following:

A. Comparison shopping: Allowing consumers to search for products on online and compare prices using a Google vertical search engine or vertical search engines from different vendors (their search engine prioritizes the use of their vertical search engine, rather than taking you to other vertical search engines).

B. Android: An in-depth investigation whether Google has breached EU antitrust rules by hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems, applications, and services.

C. Background: An on-going formal investigation under EU antitrust rules of other aspects of Google’s behavior in the EEA, including the favorable treatment by Google in its general search results of other specialized search services, concerns with regard to copying of rivals’ web content (known as ‘scraping’) and advertising exclusivity and undue restrictions on advertisers.

2. The EC is not questioning the quality of the Internet search engine. The complaint involves Google directing people to their vertical search engine. The EC alleges that when you use a google product, you are more likely to end up using the google vertical search engine even though other search engines might be more appropriate. According to Charles Arthur, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re searching for a camera or a hotel in Glasgow: Google’s vertical search results come up top, and rivals’ are nowhere.”

3. According to Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., “The second but equal goal of antitrust is to enrich the antitrust bar and bureaucracies, expanding the state for new incursions and aspirations for power, such as net neutrality.” Regardless of how many ways this situation is spun by opposing interests, it’s fair to say that far too much time, energy and money is being wasted on the manipulation of free markets.

4. A global company, (currently #46 on the Fortune 100), Google now controls over 90% of the European web search market. Wow! Let that sink in for a moment. The key issue at hand is whether this clearly dominant position has harmed consumers by limiting competition in the marketplace.

How long will this take before all of these issues are fully resolved? Google has about 10 weeks to respond to the EC charges. Upon EC’s review and evaluation of the responses, they will then make a suggestion for a possible solution and next steps.

Whether we agree or disagree what Google is doing, the fact that they control such an overwhelmingly large market share makes the EC investigation unsurprising. Google must have seen this coming…

In the end, the concerns are understandable and do calls for attention and appropriate action. And it is in everyone’s best interest to have experienced and rational leadership from the entire involved parties find a way to create a win-win solution. #GoogleEU

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Please share your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, challenges, and solutions – I read and respond to all of your comments.

Learn… Lead… Love…  Izabela Lundberg  (@IzabelaLundberg) is CEO and Founder of Izabela Lundberg International. She is an Executive  Consultant, Trainer & Speaker for Fortune 500 and  Professional Athletes & Coaches. She is #1 International Best Selling Author & Leading Authority of Leadership Transformation From Fear to Greatness. Drawing on her extensive global business management, diversity, and high-performance impact expertise through her work with people from over 80 countries, Izabela also writes and speaks on topics such us  Strategic Leadership & InfluenceLegacy Leadership, & #HighPerformance #Impact.

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