October 31, 2018
After a year of work and exchange with the relevant authorities, the new complaint against Google has been filed. Following retaliation from the firm, e-nautia redesigned the complaint and completed it. Abusive practices denounced now relate to the markets of online research and online advertising.
The Competition Authority has been seized to deal with these anti-competitive and discriminatory practices. In fact, e-nautia has several services in competition with those of Google: the service of storage and file sharing (in competition with Google Drive), the e-mail service (in competition with Gmail), the calendar (in Google Calendar), contact management (competing with Google Contacts), note-taking (competing with Google Keep), social networking (competing with Google+), and blogging (competing with Blogger) and broadcasting services of audio, video content (in competition with YouTube in particular)…
On several occasions and for several years, Google threatens the development of e-nautia by blocking the displays and therefore the potential advertising revenue generated via the AdSense network without legitimate reason. The consequence is a direct threat to the economic model of free e-nautia services funded by advertising.
To justify its action, the multinational criticizes e-nautia not to check every content published on the site. As on any hosting site (social networks, hosting sites, video sharing and other files, etc.), this is technically impossible. In fact, a minority of the content may indeed be illegal. Their withdrawal is made on report, in accordance with the legislation, as on any other legal site hosting and content sharing.
Through his maneuver, Google imposes an absurd and abusive rule and is fully aware of it. Google does not apply this rule to its own sites. This is for example the case on YouTube (owned by Google) where many inappropriate and illegal content could be found. Yet, YouTube is advertising AdSense without blocking.
At the announcement more than a year ago e-nautia's desire to seize the competent authorities, Google has largely dereferenced the site e-nautia of its search engine causing the loss of half of the global traffic.
Even if e-nautia is not afraid and is ready to face this kind of intimidation, the procedure against Google has been delayed. This once again allows the multinational to save time.
The investigations had to be pushed further. They showed that Google manipulated search results to divert traffic to its services, including in the press, restaurant guides, weather, song lyrics, video, price comparators of products, flights, hotels and mapping.
In fact, the search results are not systematically in the interest of Internet users, contrary to what the firm could claim. Worse still, research results restrict competition in an abusive and illegal way.
By its actions, Google finds itself in breach of the law for abuse of dominant position (defined by Article 102 of the Treaty of Fundament of the European Union and by Article L. 420-2 of the Code of Commerce in France). This behavior is also a discriminatory practice (punished and defined by the French law n° 2008-776 of August 4th, 2008).
With its domination of search engines, the multinational Google built a near-monopoly on online advertising by concentrating the largest network of advertisers in the world, far ahead of any other player. Online search and online advertising are often the primary sources of Internet business traffic. These sources are often unavoidable for many to ensure some sustainability and development. But these sources are today monopolized and corrupted in their essence by Google.
e-nautia demonstrates beyond a doubt, through its case and others, that Google abuses its position to implement illegal practices vampirizing many markets depending on search results and online advertising.
Proceedings against Google have in the past already been launched in certain markets (price comparators, mobile operating systems…). But the sanctions are late and are neither dissuasive nor up to the stakes. They do not go back to the heart of Google's business model based on its search engine and online advertising. With the procedure launched by e-nautia, this will be the case.
No company should be able to illegally establish and maintain a virtual monopoly in several markets. Now, Google has become the biggest threat of an open and diverse Internet. Its malicious behavior penalizes on the one hand the Internet users who find themselves with a reduced choice of services and penalizes on the other hand the digital companies which are found limited in their capacity to develop. These abusive practices have a social and economic impact at the level of each country with thousands of jobs threatened or destroyed, a loss of purchasing power and reduced innovations.
For these reasons, e-nautia calls on the authorities to act:
The fines are not dissuasive since the previous fines have not changed the behavior of Google. But measures to rebalance the market can change the deal and ensure that the digital economy is not captured by a handful of companies.
e-nautia's approach is to enforce the law and ensure that users of e-nautia and the Internet are respected. No firm structuring a market should be able to stifle other companies. The challenge today is to know if we want a world dominated by a harmful multinational living above the law or if we want a world where choice becomes possible.
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