Google timeline: Search engine wins some, loses some in global antitrust battles

Google has seen the tide swing against it in antitrust cases

 The entrance to Google’s Europe headquarters in Dubli. A landmark court ruling intended to rein in Google has instead put it at the forefront of Europe’s enforcement of Internet privacy. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/The New York Times

The entrance to Google’s Europe headquarters in Dubli. A landmark court ruling intended to rein in Google has instead put it at the forefront of Europe’s enforcement of Internet privacy. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/The New York Times

 

For more than a decade, internet search and advertising giant Google has sparred with competitors in an expanding range of industries. After fending off charges of anti-competitive behaviour for many years, the company has seen the tide swing against it in antitrust cases.

2007 - US

Competitors and consumer groups push the federal trade commission (FTC) to investigate Google’s acquisition of online display advertising firm DoubleClick. FTC signs off on deal but warns it will monitor Google for anticompetitive practices.

2008 - US

Google and Yahoo abandon pact to run Google search ads on Yahoo sites after justice department moved to block deal saying the competitors would dominate online ad market.

2009/10 - Europe

Rivals and industry trade groups file complaints against Google, citing competition concerns.

2010 - Europe

EU Commission launches formal antitrust probe of Google search business, which continues.

2013 - US

The FTC drops a two-year antitrust probe of Google, concluding it has not manipulated search results to hurt rivals.

2013 - South Korea

Korean Fair Trade Commission clears Google after two-year antitrust inquiry brought by local search rivals NHN (now Naver ) and Daum (now Kakao ), which dominate the country’s search market. The FTC finds the rival companies’ market share changed little despite Google’s pre-loading requirements for its apps on Android phones.

2013 - Brazil

Brazilian antitrust watchdog CADE investigates whether Google unfairly scrapes the content from rival websites, discourages their advertisers and favours its own product listings in search results.

2013 - Brazil/South Korea

Brazil investigates allegations that Google scrapes content from rivals and skews search results while Korea clears Google after two-year antitrust inquiry brought by local rivals.

2013/14 - Europe

Back and forth between Google and EU over terms of a potential settlement that would have ended European Commission antitrust probe. Competitors complain Commission is letting off Google too easily. EU antitrust chief Joaquin Alumnia eventually admits resolution unlikely before his term expires later in 2014.

2015 - India & Russia

India competition commission three-year inquiry into paid search results accuses Google of abusing dominant position in search. Report yet to be publicly released. Russia’s anti-monopoly agency finds Google guilty of abusing market position by favouring own apps on Android.

2014 - Europe

Mounting anti-Google feeling among European politicians is reflected in the passage of a symbolic, non-binding resolution calling for the break-up of Google’s search engine business from the rest of the company. The motion, which does not mention Google explicitly by name, passes with 384 in favour to 174 votes against.

2015 - Europe

New EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager charges Google with distorting its search results to favour its shopping service over rivals.

European Commission also says it is investigating Google’s Android business, “scraping” on rival’s web content and various advertising issues.

2015 - India

Competition Commission of India (CCI) concludes a three-year enquiry into Google’s paid search results. It accuses Google of abusing its dominant position in search in a report which has yet to be publicly released. CCI has received Google’s response but sets no timeline for a final decision.

2015 - US

The federal trade commission opens a preliminary investigation into whether Google uses its Android operating system to dominate competitors.

2016 - Europe

European Competition Commission charges Google with favouring its own apps on Android phones. – Reuters