CLBR #228: David Balto on the EU Battle with Google (Postponed)

Google Battles the EU on Antitrust

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We are glad to have David Balto back to talk about the European Union’s multiple antitrust probes of Google.

2010: EU Opens Inquiry into Google Search

The regulators have focused on accusations that Google diverts traffic from competitors rivals to favor its own comparison shopping site.

  • FTC rejected such charges in 2013.
  • Reached settlement in 2014 that fell through.
  • May 2016 reports that EU will seek 3 billion fine.

Europe Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google, New York Times (Nov. 30, 2010).

Europe Challenges Google, Seeing Violations of Its Antitrust Law, New York Times (April 15, 2015).

Google faces record three billion euro EU antitrust fine: Telegraph, Reuters (May 16, 2-16).

2016: EU Accuses Claims Promoting Google Search on Android May Have Violated Antitrust Laws

EU contends by requiring phone makers and operators to preload a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customer

One such example: Google denies access to its Play Store, with more than one million apps, to phone makers that don’t meet its requirements, including making Google the default search engine on their devices. Regulators say Europeans get 90% of their Android mobile apps from the Play Store.

EU Files Formal Charges Against Google Over Android Conduct, Wall Street Journal (April 20, 2016)

2016: Adwords Inquiry

The Commission has asked Google rivals to share information related to search advertising with the tech giant, a step suggesting the EU competition enforcer could be poised to hit Google with a fresh charge, the sources said.

EU regulators readying third Google antitrust charge: sources, Reuters (June 28, 2016)

Is This Something Bigger than Google?

Google Is Target of European Backlash on U.S. Tech Dominance, New York Times (Sep. 8, 2014)

Why Google’s monopoly abuse case in Europe will run and run, Ars Technica (May 19, 2016)

How Europe Is Going After Google, Amazon and Other U.S. Tech Giants

Rich U.S. High-Tech Firms May Be Stifling Innovation, OECD Says, Bloomberg (June 16, 2016).

David Balto


Twitter: @DavidABalto

David Balto is an antitrust lawyer in Washington, D.C. and has practiced antitrust law for over 20 years in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and private practice. At the FTC he was the Assistant Director for Policy and Evaluation in the Bureau of Competition and attorney advisor to Chairman Robert Pitofsky. In these positions he was a senior advisor in all aspects of the FTC’s merger and non-merger enforcement program. He helped litigate the challenges to the Staples/Office Depot, Drug Wholesalers, and Heinz/Beechnut mergers, and the Intel monopolization case. Mr. Balto helped guide many of the FTC’s seminal pharmaceutical and healthcare enforcement efforts, identifying and helping litigate major cases such as the challenges to patent settlement agreements and other exclusionary conduct. He was an advisor in many of the FTC’s pharmaceutical merger enforcement cases, including Glaxo/Smithkline, Merck/Medco, Lilly/PCS and Ciba/Sandoz. He was liaison on competition issues with the FDA and Congress and advised several Congressional committees on pharmaceutical competition and Hatch-Waxman reform.

Mr. Balto is a prolific author on antitrust, consumer protection, financials services, and health care competition. He is Vice-Chair of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Federal Civil Enforcement committee.

Mr. Balto received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota, and his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.



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