This evening Recode got its hands on an internal memo circulating around Google that addresses the antitrust charges the European Union is set to file this week.
The EU’s charges against Google claim that the company is deliberately displaying its own properties ahead of results from competitors in organic search.
With the EU seeking fines of over $6 billion, Google is understandably taking this news rather seriously. The internal memo that went out within the company expresses disappointment over the charges, and attempts to make a case that online search competition is still alive and well in Europe.
To illustrate its point, Google’s memo includes a series of charts and graphs from multiple sources showing how its search volume compares to competitors’.
In fact, Google argues that not only is it not stifling competition, its increasing competition:
“We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition:
Better services for users: Google Search has improved tremendously since the days of ten blue links. We can now answer many queries directly, saving users huge amounts of time and effort–whether it’s the weather, directions to the local pharmacy, flights, or where to get the cheapest camera.
The competition is just one click away — and it’s growing. People can use Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo, and a new wave of search assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, as well as more specialized services like Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide, Expedia, or eBay. In addition, users increasingly turn to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to find news and suggestions — where to eat or which movies to watch.”
The memo goes on to make the case that Google’s competitors are doing well in Europe. It gives the example that search volume on Amazon far exceeds the search volume on Google Shopping. Google also argues, by showing comScore statistics from travel sites in Germany, that search volume on Google Travel is far below that of competitors’.
Google does not directly address the claims that it’s deliberately ranking its own sites ahead of competitors in organic search results, which is the case it will have to make when the European Commission files charges this week
Google concludes the memo by asking its employees not to comment on the pending legal issues.