Google Responds to E.U. Antitrust Threat with Internal Email
Google is a company with a strong culture. Being a group of people with a collective identity, its leaders want everyone in the company to know what threatens them. That’s presumably what Google General Counsel Kent Walker believes and why he sent a memo to all Google employees regarding the E.U.’s impending antitrust investigation against them. Well, and probably to quell any excessive dissent and keep everyone calm (and quiet). The E.U. accuses Google of having little competition in Europe, citing that 90% of searches in the region are done with Google. However, Kent’s memo states that the strongest case facing Google involves the display and ranking of search results. In particular, shopping search results will be scrutinized.
Mr. Walker explains that the Google and the E.U. may settle their differences before the courts get involved. He also says that Google has a strong case if the decision were to be left to the courts. He cites several search engines that are available to Europeans and also reminds employees that Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are being used more and more for searching the web. Siri and Cortana are intelligent personal assistants that are commonly used on smart phones for web searches. But Walker doesn’t stop there. He highlights popular shopping sites Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide and Expedia before pasting various graphs showing how much competition Google has in various areas. Although the graphs don’t really illustrate the big picture, they do show that Google isn’t always the preferred search engine.
Android will also be investigated by the E.U. Mr. Walker, again, seems confident that Google will win in court, if the E.U. even decides to let the decision be made there. His general argument is that Android is actually good for competition. It is free and developers earn money from it. It also allows apps by competing companies, like Facebook, to be installed on it.
Mr. Walker closes by making asking employees not to comment on pending legal issues and by focusing on what they do best, “building great products that serve our users and customers.”