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Open Letter to EC Commissioners to Reject Google Settlement

Dear European Commission Official,

The sovereign problems with the proposed Google-EC settlement are that it:

  • Does nothing to address how Google unlawfully gained, and continues to unlawfully extend, its EU online dominance; and
  • Allows Google to evade accountability to EU rule of law.

Simply it represents an unwarranted special EC pardon for Google’s illegal 90% search/search advertising dominance and its many illegal abuses of dominance.

Moreover, it is not in the EC’s interests to prematurely shut down the Google search investigation for the convenience of just one EC Directorate’s artificial timetable, when that would undermine the ongoing investigation of additional allegations of Google abuses of its search dominance, like Google search-Android tying, and when it would undermine the good efforts of other EC Directorates trying to get Google to be accountable to EU data protection, tax, copyright, patent, and other laws.

Making matters worse, the proposed settlement would have no deterrent capability to prevent more Google abuses of its dominance in the future. That’s because allowing Google to publicly claim it has done nothing wrong, when it has per the draft Statement of Objections, shields Google from the only thing Google cares about – potential harm to Google’s brand reputation with its users.

Sadly, this settlement would make the EC complicit in deceiving Europeans that Google is not dominant and has done nothing wrong. And it would enable Google to publicly mischaracterize the settlement as a de facto European Commission Seal of Approval for Google’s search and search advertising business practices.

The devil is in the details. To fully appreciate how comically bad Google’s third settlement proposal is, which is just a tweak of its first two settlement offers, please enjoy these fun and informative illustrated satires of Google’s first two proposed settlements.

  1. To see a pictorial satire of Google’s first EC Settlement offer -- click here.
  2. To see a pictorial satire of Google’s second EC settlement offer -- click here.

In short, this is not a routine EU settlement decision nor a case properly handled outside of Article 102. This is about whether much of the EU’s economy, culture, and politics will be dominated by one foreign company that repeatedly abuses its dominance and operates as if it thinks it is above EU law.

If the proposed Google-EC settlement looks like a bad deal, sounds like a bad deal, and smells like a bad deal, it’s a bad deal.

The European Commissioners should reject the third proposed Google-EC settlement and call for immediate enforcement of EU Competition law under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.



Scott Cleland

Publisher, &

Author, Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.

President, Precursor LLC, a research consultancy for Fortune 500 clients, some of which are Google competitors

McLean Virginia, USA