Feeds

French regulator orders Google to reinstate Gatso-buster's account

AdWords terms discriminatory, not transparent, lack objectivity...

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has "a dominant position in search advertising", said France's antitrust authority today as it gave the company four months to open up about its cancellation of the AdWords account of Navx, a vendor of speed camera warning devices.

Ominously for Google, the regulator also noted the company's 90 per cent share of the French search market, and observed that there are "strong barriers to entry in this area", including the development of an equivalent algorithm and extensive indexing of content.

Is the Autorité de la concurrence on the brink of saying Google has a monopoly of search advertising? It might well be. At the moment, however, it's saying that Google's AdWords policies have been put in place under conditions that lack objectivity and transparency, and that treat the vendors of speed camera databases in a discriminatory fashion. And it has given Google five days to reinstate Navx's AdWords account, pending a fuller explanation after four months.

Navx complained to the Autorité earlier this year following the cancellation of its account in November 2009. Google is also said to have cancelled the accounts of other companies selling similar products. According to a statement (in French) issued by the regulator earlier today, the AdWords rules for companies in this sector were made more restrictive in 2008, but it was not made clear to the companies why their accounts were being suspended. Nor was the company always informed of the suspension prior to it taking place (as was the case with Navx).

The Autorité also notes that Google's policies here seem discriminatory, because although manufacturers of GPS systems that include speedcam databases can continue to promote their products via AdWords, the producers of the databases (in France, CDB, Coyote, Navx, and AlerteGPS) cannot. The regulator also notes that unlike radar detectors, speed camera databases are not illegal in France. It is continuing to investigate, and has the power to fine Google. Its full decision (PDF, in French) can be found here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.