This is one of those awful moments when you realize you could be living in an Ayn Rand novel.
After getting themselves banned In China, it looks like Google may face heavy fines in Europe as well. Joaquine Almunia, the European Union’s competition chief, claimed in an interview yesterday that Google must adjust its practice of rating its own services higher than competitor services that are displayed in search.
In his own words, “They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think –- I fear -– there is an abuse of this dominant position.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ayn Rand novels, she pretty much makes two points:
- Anyone who does not smoke at least two packs a day is a Communist
- Using a dominant position to crush competition is in fact a form of competition, and leads to a more efficient marketplace. Therefore, a government, fining a company for “abuse of this dominant position” is nonsensical
Also, there’s that whole “monetising this kind of business” comment. A web service attempts to monetize? Oh the horror! We are upset, European Union, because you’re making Atlas Shrugged seem conceivable, and no one should ever do that!
Google currently handles roughly 90% of search traffic in Europe, and has just 7 days left to come up with a solution to the EU’s accusations. Stay tuned.