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Questions to ask the EU and Google about the EU Antitrust Settlement

Below are questions for both the EU and Google, given the expected announcement soon of a proposed settlement of Google's alleged antitrust violations.

Questions for the EU:
Remedies Implications
: Since the EU's formal demand for Google to propose acceptable remedies for the abuses and harms that Google has caused would only be appropriate and legal if Google was indeed a monopoly, and in fact abused its monopoly, does the EU effectively consider Google a monopoly which has abused its market power?

Non-compliance penalty? Does the EU reserve the right to issue a formal Statement of Objections in the future if Google proves seriously non-compliant with the proposed monopoly abuse enforcement settlement?

Complainant review? What assurances will complainants have to ensure that Google's concessions are meaningful and real, and will not be easily gamed by Google because of the dearth of technical expertise on the EU enforcement staff?

Effect on other EU-Google Antitrust investigations? Will this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement have any effect on the conduct or outcome of the EU's investigation into Google's alleged anti-competitive behavior with Android and/or Google-Motorola's alleged abuse of standards essential patents?

Legally binding? Does this mean Google will be effectively on probation and under the legal enforcement supervision of the EU on a daily basis for the duration of the monopoly abuse enforcement settlement?

Special Master? Will there be a technical special master involved that can understand the technical issues necessary to ensure full compliance or detect non-compliance?

Burden of proof? If there are any future allegations of abuse and harm, will the burden of proof be on the complainant or Google going forward?

Global framework? Do you expect antitrust investigations in the U.S., S. Korea, India, and Argentina, to use this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement as a floor or template to settle charges with Google and/or to set up their own ongoing supervision of Google under their own monopoly abuse enforcement settlements?

Effect on privacy investigations? Will Google's behavior and compliance with this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement have any effect on the EU's investigation of Google's universal privacy policy, Street View WiSpy misrepresentations, or Google's privacy hack of competitor Apple?

Compliance guarantees? Given Google's track record of repeat offenses, obstruction of justice and history of not being accountable, what special compliance measures are planned to ensure Google does not effectively ignore this EU monopoly abuse enforcement settlement?

Questions For Google:
Monopoly/Dominant?
Is Google a monopoly or have market dominance of any kind?

Special obligations? Does proposal and acceptance of these EU remedies to avoid a Statement of Objections mean that Google accepts it has special obligations going forward that other competitors do not have to not act anti-competitively?

Liability? Does Google admit that it has done anything wrong? If not, why not?

Acceptance of responsibility? For what does Google accept responsibility in this settlement?

Freedom of Speech/Censorship? Does this settlement limit Google's freedom of speech or censor Google in any way, problems Google repeatedly said it would not accept over the last year?

Financial impact? Will this settlement have a material impact that requires disclosure to shareholders? Will this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement adversely affect Google's business model, monetization leverage, market share, revenues or profits?

Public statements? Will Google or its third parties characterize this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement as Internet regulation, breaking the Internet, censorship, or violating Google's freedom of speech?

Innovation? How will this monopoly abuse enforcement settlement affect Google's "velocity" of innovation? If not, why not?

 

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