Feeds

Culture minister rejects calls for UK probe of Google search biz

Ed Vaizey agrees to meet with Foundem members

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Culture minister Ed Vaizey has rejected calls for UK regulators to investigate Google's search business practices.

Tory MP Dominic Raab asked Vaizey to comment on why the Office of Fair Trading or indeed the Competition Commission hadn't undertaken their own probes into Google's search product, which currently has a 95 per cent share of the European market.

"I understand that the minister may feel tempted to defer to the European Commission inquiry, but Britain must also ask whether enough is being done to prevent such abuse and why we have to wait for the cumbersome, clumping, clumsy conclusions of the European Commission to preserve our own free market at home," he said during a Westminster Hall debate yesterday afternoon.

"The EU anti-trust probe is, I think, an adequate remedy at the moment, and I gather that the OFT looked into the matter three or four years ago and does not feel the need to do so again at this time," Vaizey responded.

"My hon. Friend is, of course, perfectly able to contact the OFT and to suggest a change of heart. Without wishing for this to be taken in any way as a criticism of the OFT or the Competition Commission, I should say that my hon. Friend might find that their procedures, in his perception, are clunky and time-consuming-I imagine that any probe would take at least two years," the culture minister retorted.

Raab also raised the issue of Bracknell, UK-based price comparison site Foundem, which is part of the EU investigation into Google currently underway in Brussels.

Among other things, Foundem has accused Google of using its so-called Universal Search setup to unfairly drive traffic to its own vertical services, such as Google Product Search and Google Maps.

"It is time that we all got real about this," argued Tory MP Phillip Lee, whose constituency is in Bracknell.

"Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading have the necessary legislation - the Competition Act 1998 - and EU law to support them. They need to get on with protecting British start-ups, so that those businesses can thrive and there is a fair environment in which they can exist."

Lee was at pains to add that the debate shouldn't focus on commerce, but rather on where "services, knowledge and information" are accessed.

"[T]his company [Google] has suppressed the growth of a business in my constituency - that is the reality. I do not think that that is in the best interests of this country, and I do not think that one company having that amount of power is in the best interests of this country, too," he added.

Lee went on to urge Vaizey to meet with Foundem representatives, and said the culture minister had previously been approached by the company.

Vaizey said he would be "absolutely delighted" to meet the founders of Foundem. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.