Google settled a dispute about rejecting ads with
the French Competition Authority including a 3 month
notification period for the future when rejecting ads. Navx bought ads from Google to help drivers avoid
speeding tickets by providing "online maps pinpointing the location of radar
and camera systems the authorities use to crack down on speeding on French
roads." Because radar detectors are illegal in France Google rejected Navx's
ads, and Navx filed a lawsuit in court for 7 million euros ($9.7 million)
alleging damages. As part of the settlement Google "pledged to overhaul its rules
and procedures for blocking certain advertisers from buying "sponsored links."
This good news since Google is adopting these new ad policies worldwide.
Google Accounts for 90% French Searches
Even better news for Google was that
even though Google accounts for 90% of all online searches in France the French
Competition Authority made "no finding of dominance or monopoly abuse." However
this could change and Google should be mindful of abusing its success. If
Google accounted for 90% of the searches in the US it's doubtful that the US
government (FTC or Justice Department) would find no dominance or monopoly
abuse. After all, the Justice Department pursued antitrust claims against Microsoft
in the 1990s because of Microsoft's market power and tying Internet Explorer to
the Windows operating system (my 4th Big Bang of the Internet). There have
been rumblings about Google's potential anti competitive behavior since
President Obama took office.