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FairSearch Supports Rapid, Enforceable Changes to Google's Anti-Competitive Business Practices

The following is a statement by the FairSearch coalition responding to reports that the European Commission and Google may begin technical discussions over a potential settlement that could end the Commission’s 18+-month investigation of Google’s business practices for potential violations of EU competition and consumer protection laws. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and six state attorneys general are also investigating Google’s business practices for potential violations of U.S. antitrust and consumer protection laws.

“The FairSearch coalition would welcome a rapid, substantive and legally enforceable change to Google’s business practices that steer users to its own products and away from others. Only when these practices end will Google’s ongoing harm to consumers and innovators end. Any binding set of changes to Google’s practices must be paired with strong ongoing monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the company does not return to its anti-competitive practices.

“The members of FairSearch look forward to engaging with the European Commission and Vice President Joaquín Almunia as interested third parties to provide feedback during these technical discussions. FairSearch’s members also plan to participate in ‘market testing’ of any settlement that may be proposed to ensure that it reflects a greater commitment by Google to end its anti-competitive behavior than has the company’s past rejection of the concerns that Mr. Almunia identified after conducting a thorough 18-month investigation.”

For more background on the European Commission’s investigation, see this FairSearch blog post.