Google Loses Appeal in E.U. Antitrust Breach Case

Google critics lobby EU's Vestager to take tougher antitrust action
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The EU’s General Court, the EU’s second-most senior court, has ruled in favor of the European Commission’s fine against Google in 2017 for an antitrust breach. According to the European Commission, Google favored its own shopping comparison services over rival services and fined Google for 2.42 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had appealed the decision but was dismissed by the General Court. 

In a press release the court announced, “The General Court finds that, by favoring its own comparison shopping service on its general results pages through more favorable display and positioning, while relegating the results from competing comparison services in those pages by means of ranking algorithms, Google departed from competition on the merits”. 

In response, a spokesperson for google told CNBC, “Shopping ads have always helped people find the products they are looking for quickly and easily, and helped merchants to reach potential customers. This judgement relates to a very specific set of facts and while we will review it closely, we made changes back in 2017 to comply with the European Commission’s decision.”Google has the option to appeal the verdict to the EU’s highest court.

This ruling has strengthened existing antitrust arguments against US tech firms made by Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition. Vestager is an aggressive antitrust enforcer and this case is one of three penalties issues by Vestager against Google.  Vestager’s legal argument in this case and other antitrust breaches is that big tech companies like Google are able to ‘self-preference”, explained by the court as “favoring its own comparison shopping service on its general results pages through more favorable display and positioning, while relegating the results from competing comparison services in those pages by means of ranking algorithms.” This is a direct violation of antitrust law.

Self-preferencing is common practice in the tech world, this case could set the precedent for antitrust laws regulating digital marketing, but not without difficulty. This case is proving that the EU and other courts have many limitations when it comes to regulating big tech companies despite Google loosing their appeal. In the United States, Google is also facing a lawsuit from Justice Department for similar anticompetitive behavior.


Google Fiber Kills Traditional TV In Favor of Streaming

As of today traditional television is on its last leg. Most of the best content to watch is already online. Websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, now Disney plus, with Peacock on standby, streaming will dominate the decade. Google Fiber sees the trend and is opting to change it’s perspective as a company. After the change to drop traditional television methods comes with partnerships of Youtube TV and FuboTv. FuboTV distributes lives sports, offers over 35,000 live sports events yearly. Now new Fiber customers have two options on how they want to receive live and on demand programming.

The Commercial That Stole The Show On Football’s Biggest Night


It’s quite evident that football’s biggest night is the perfect opportunity for companies to persuade all who are watching to utilize/buy their products through the use of captivating commercials. In saying that, this year’s Superbowl had commercials that ranged from happy, to humorous, to serious/emotional, to completely strange and seemingly pointless.

To get a professional opinion on these commercials, KDKA sat down with Shannon Baker–the president of a local ad agency to get her opinion on which spots were the winners and the losers on football’s biggest night. Baker is president of the Gatesman Agency in Pittsburgh and has 18 years of experience in the ad business (so she knows a good bit about how companies and clients can accurately convey a message that resonates with audiences and further persuades them to either adopt an idea, utilize a software, or buy a product.)

According to Baker, she believes that if you craft a story that is short, tight, and memorable, it is going to make people feel something–which is critical to the success of the commercial.

She says Google set the bar very high with its emotional “Loretta” ad, and many others would agree. Millions of people were raving about the heartfelt tearjerking ad that was based on a true story. For those who didn’t get to see the commercial, it begins with a man typing into Google “how to not forget,” and then asking his Google Assistant device to show him photos of his late wife named Loretta. The man continues to ask Google to remember certain things about her, like the fact that she hated his mustache, loved going to Alaska, and always snorted when she laughed. In the end, Google recites all of the things the man had asked the device to remember. It closed out with the man saying, “remember I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

Overall, Baker and many others believe that Google set the bar very high with their ‘Loretta’ ad because not only did it tug on the emotional heartstrings of audiences, but it also marketed the product in a simple yet compelling way.


Pittsburgh Ad Agency Says Which Super Bowl Commercials Were The Most And Least Impressive

No more cookies for you, says Google

One of the richest companies in the world, Google, recently announced they would be eliminating “cookies” from the Chrome browser by the year 2022.

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Explaining the concept of ‘third-party cookies’ involves a little more tech lingo, but the gist of it is that they’re basically a digital advertiser’s best friend. Cookies on websites help them track where you have visited across the web, how many times, and from where. They then send you targeted ads of your ‘interests’, based on those those visits patterns.

While browsing the web, you may have noticed a little announcement that pops up usually from the end of the screen letting you know “This website uses cookies.” It then proceeds to tell you something along the lines of “By continuing to browse this website, you agree to the terms and services.” Maybe you just clicked “Ok” to get that stubborn little banner out of the way. Or maybe you never even noticed any trace of cookies at all. Whatever it may be, if you use Chrome, it’s very likely they are there.

According to the company, the decision to ban third-party cookies is part of an effort to ensure more privacy on the internet, especially for users. According to some experts, Google had no other choice but to eliminate cookies altogether, because their competitors Safari and Firefox already banned that third party activity.

Many advertisers big or small rely on cookies to target ads more efficiently, therefore Google is offering two years to let them figure out new digital advertising strategies.

 It seems like people are torn with this announcement. While, on the one hand, it’s a positive thing to promote a more private web by excluding third parties from acquiring your data; on the other, it allows both Google and Facebook to gather even more information from you because there is less competition to gain your data. Others argue that eliminating cookies will take a toll on smaller businesses that rely on their targeted ads. Meanwhile, some say that a cookie-free browser will create a more strategic and fair digital advertising environment.

What do you think about this? As a consumer, do you think you might notice a change in the ads you come across online?