19th July 2016

EC antitrust department targets Google (again), truck producers

On 14 July, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of the powerful DG Competition, presented yet another charges against Google. This time, the EC targets Google´s AdSense advertising product. According to the Commission, Google behaved in an uncompetitive manner by forcing limitations on its customers, such as exclusivity for Google advertising services on the customer´s website. At the same time, the EC sent a supplement Statement of Objection, which in itself is a first formal step in an antitrust investigation, concerning the ongoing investigation into Google Shopping. The global giant also faces a third investigation, concerning the Android operating system. This may indicate a strong resolve in DG Competition. But at the same time, it may prove the opposite – a struggle to close important cases. The EC has been investigating Google for almost a decade now, while no tangible result has been achieved so far. As the internet industry points out, soon there may be no more competition to protect in services where Google is active.

For more, click here and here.

On 19 July, however, Ms Vestager managed to close a huge case of a truck producers cartel and imposed a record fine of €2.93 billion. MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF admitted the cartel and went for a settlement, which reduced their fine. MAN, which blew the whistle, avoided a fine altogether. Scania, another truckmaker alleged to have taken part in the cartel, did not settle and thus investigation into its conduct continues. Truckmakers coordinated their price policies for some 14 years, all the way through 2011, in the whole EEA. Part of the deal was to pass on the costs of ever stricter emissions requirements to the customers. All companies, including MAN, may face further damages in civil lawsuits.

For more on this issue, click here and here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic