A new report says the companies whose complaints have been included in the European Union's formal antitrust charges against Google have been revealed, even though the European Commission is still keeping the official list of complainants under wraps.
According to the report by Reuters, at least 30 companies filed complaints against Google with the EC, but only 19 of those were selected for inclusion in the official charge list.
Those companies, which Reuters ferreted out with help from the customary "people familiar with the matter," include (in alphabetical order):
- BDZV, an organization of German newspaper publishers
- Ejustice, a French legal search engine
- Elfvoetbal, a Dutch football (soccer) news site
- Euro-Cities, a German provider of city maps
- Expedia, a US travel site
- Foundem, a UK price comparison site
- Hot-map, a German mapping firm
- ICOMP, a UK-based organization for online businesses
- Nextag, a US price comparison site
- nnpt.it, an Italian online news aggregator
- Odigeo, a group of travel sites headquartered in Spain
- Streetmap, a UK road mapping service
- TripAdvisor, a US travel site
- VDZ, a German magazine publishers association
- VfT, a German business listing site
- Visual-Meta, a German lifestyle shopping aggregator
- Yelp, a US business rating and comparison site
- An anonymous complainant
It should surprise no one that Microsoft looms large on the list of complainants. In 2014, Redmond outspent every other tech company on lobbying the EU.
What's more, more than one name on the list of 19 is thought to be a close pal of the software giant. Microsoft is a big backer of ICOMP, for example, and Expedia began life as a Microsoft subsidiary before being spun off as its own public company in 1999.
It is interesting, however, to see prominent US online companies on the list, including Expedia, Nextag, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Presumably they all want greater access to EU markets, where Google has already established a commanding presence.
"It's been clear from our meetings that US-based companies have helped lead the charge by providing substantive evidence of Google's harm to consumers," a Yelp spokesman told Reuters.
It's also telling that the list includes companies in such areas as mapping and news aggregation. The EU so far has charged that Google's dominance in search allows its own online shopping services to compete unfairly with rivals. It now seems we can expect those charges to broaden into markets other than online shopping as the case moves forward.
Throughout the dispute, Google has said it "strongly disagrees" that it has done wrong and has defended its business practices in the EU. ®