This is an interesting little example for aficionados of press manipulation. A story about the European Commission’s antitrust efforts against Google. Now, I have to admit that I don’t know that I’m correct here, this is my interpretation, not me being Moses reading the tablets I’ve just brought down the mountain. But I do read this as someone who wants very much stricter antitrust action having a little word in the ears of the reporters. And they swallowing the story as is.
The basic message here being that antitrust is very difficult, which it is. And that the EU Commission isn’t going to be really harsh on Google because it’s difficult. This will leave Google’s market power intact. OK, I can buy all of that. Except it’s the next bit which shines through for me, the bit unsaid but just implied.
Because Google’s market power will be left intact then the Commission should be more than harsh. And who is it that would like to get that message out there? Why, that would be Google’s competitors – for no one is actually proving in any manner whatsoever that Google’s actions are harming consumers rather than competitors.
Sure, just my paranoia. Except this is how a certain part of the world of briefing journalists works.
The final ruling, expected within the next few months, will likely involve a multi-billion-dollar fine and an end to clauses in licensing agreements that stop smartphone vendors from promoting alternatives to apps such as Google Search and Maps, people familiar with the European Commission’s thinking say.
The decision, which is expected to hew closely to recommendations made in 2016 soon after the probe began, will almost certainly leave Google’s market dominance intact because the incentives to stick with the company are so strong, say industry executives, analysts and even its foes.
I don’t read this, at all, as a report on what is likely to happen. Instead, I read it as an urging for the Commission to do much more. Driven by those competitors having found reporters gullible enough, or amenable enough, to write up the story they’re told.
But a decision in the most important of three antitrust cases against Google – this one aimed at loosening its stranglehold over Android-powered smartphones – is likely to show just how difficult it is, even for a committed trust-buster like Vestager, to dent the power of the U.S. giants.
Reuters is, in my reading here, being used to send a message to Vestager – do more!
Think this is just paranoia? Then why do companies hire firms that lobby journalists?