Google's antitrust probe could prove distracting, analysts say
An extended EC investigation could also benefit Microsoft-Yahoo search partnership
Computerworld - The European Commission's decision to launch an antitrust investigation into Google Inc. activities could be the start of a long, tough haul for the search giant, analysts say.
"At the very least, this will force Google to spend time and resources complying with the investigation and mounting a legal defense," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc.
"The news is that the EU has launched an investigation," Olds added. "It really depends on what violations are alleged and how the EU laws treat those violations. Google has to take this seriously. But at this point, we don't know whether it's going to be a mountain or a molehill."
The level of distraction could quickly mount if the investigation leads to new antitrust complaints filed against Google by competitors, or investigations by regulators from other countries, including the U.S., analysts said.
"This makes it more attractive for any company to cry foul against Google," said Whit Andrews, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "[U.S. companies] could point to Europe and say, 'We're not the only ones who think Google is too powerful.'"
Julia Holtz, Google's top antitrust lawyer, claimed in a blog post today that the EC investigation was triggered by complaints filed by Foundem, a U.K. price comparison site; eJustice.fr, a French legal search engine; and Ciao, a German search site that was recently acquired by Microsoft Corp. The EC today confirmed the investigation and disclosed that it had notified Google of the probe earlier this month.
Analysts noted that Microsoft would likely benefit if the Google investigation grows into a multipronged, messy case.
"If this were to turn into a big deal for Google, it could give the Microsoft and Yahoo [search] consortium a chance to make up some ground," said Olds. "Google has a big search lead in the EU, and anything that slows them down or inhibits their business practices is, by definition, good news for Microsoft and Yahoo."
Google and Microsoft have long been engaged in a heated battle that continues to escalate. As the competition expands to encompass everything from enterprise applications to the burgeoning search market, it's clear that the fight is significant for both companies.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, wondered whether Google had acted like Microsoft did before it was hit with its own EC antitrust charges multiple times before reaching a settlement late last year.
"This may be an example of how Google is making mistakes that Microsoft made, rather than learning from and avoiding them," Enderle said. "Of course, it depends on what they find, but government agencies seldom walk away from these things empty-handed. They have to justify the work, so expect an adverse finding against Google with a fine likely."
Paul Meller of the IDG News Service contributed to this article.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed .
- Yahoo can't stall Bing rollout in Taiwan, Hong Kong
- Google keeps Bing, Yahoo at bay in search business
- Google updates Google Now, makes it more prominent on phones
- Yahoo to focus on search -- and Google
- Microsoft's Bing counters Google with Yelp partnership
- Mozilla dumps Yandex as default search for Russian Firefox
- Google aims to make search smarter, easier
- Microsoft Bing goes social in search war with Google
- Facebook tries to out-Google Google with new search tool
- Google, Microsoft each seek search 'game changer'
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard
- This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting
- This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle
- This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle. All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts