The massive search engine company Google has become the subject of an EU anti-trust investigation over allegations that it misuses its dominant position.
Complainants that include Microsoft and the UK comparison firm Foundem allege that Google gives preferential placement to its own services. They do this it is said by lowering the Google rankings of unpaid search results as well as imposing exclusivity obligations on advertising partners.
I just don't know what all the bleating is about. Competition on the 'net is huge and another search engine is merely the click of a mouse button away.
Now if people argue that Google is the dominant one it is probably because it gives the best results. If all it did was churn out its own stuff people would soon move on.
Google is a business, not a free public service. It has to make money in order to both survive and maintain its position.
But, here's the thing, the only way it can do that is by providing information 'above the fold' on one single page on a screen that gives the vast majority of people what they are looking for.
How many people bother to go past the first three items on the first page let alone investigate what is on page ten of a million? That is the same for every search engine. Far from being an opportunity to stuff the top of page one with their own favoured content I would see it as a bit of a handicap trying to give enough spread in such a small space as to give all searchers something of value.
Let's see. Are TV and radio companies berated for only giving prime time ad space to the highest paying advertisers? Do those putting small ads in magazines expect to get on page one just because they think they give the best service?
We all rely on the 'dominant position' that taxis have after a late Saturday night out, do we get it for free?
Google have a balancing act to do to try and earn and provide a wide ranging service and they do a better job of it than most.
I have just typed the word 'mortgage' into the Google search engine. Result, three well signposted ads followed by moneysupermarket.com at the top then a Wiki explanation of mortgages followed by Halifax, Nationwide, Motley Fool then Mortgage Introducer, Woolwich and the BBC. That seems to cater for most needs I would think.