So this week, the European Union accused Google of using its “dominant and strong” position to prioritize their own services and make it much harder for competitors to gain a foothold in their search results.
This case is particularly important to marketers because Google is a world leader in marketing personalization, and if indicted, the EU could force them to change their online operations in Europe entirely – not to mention a potential $6 billion dollar fine.
The search giant responds
Google responded to the charges yesterday in an official blog entry titled, “The Search For Harm,” arguing that they structure their search listings according to what would be most beneficial for the customer. They also defend their position from a competitive standpoint, citing the unprecedented selection search engines, services, and channels that users have access to today.
In Europe about 89% of Internet searches are conducted through Google, so whether or not you feel like the situation is unfair there is undeniably a lot of influence at stake here.
Playing the end-game of marketing personalization
This case is particularly relevant to marketers because Google, along with dominant brands like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, etc. are playing the “end-game” of marketing personalization by becoming so big that they’re actually a part of their users’ day to day activities. At this point, they’re more than brands: they’re facts of life – and there’s no way you can become that big without stepping on the toes of competitors or at least occupying their market share.
Both sides bring up legitimate points, so the rift between EU’s antitrust laws and Google’s current business model is unlikely to be closed any time soon.