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Friday, January 11, 2013

Samsung and Google face to face with the European Commission - but what a difference !

With the below statement of objections, from the European Commission, it looks like Samsung, in its total war with Apple, risk shooting itself in the foot. As I mentioned on this blog in other occasions, the battleground for competitors in the high-tech (and patent protected) industries shifted from the market into the courts. Because of this shift, antitrust enforcer are right in having a firm stance towards excessive litigation, when this involves standard-essential patents.  Not far from last week Motorola (Google now) narrowly escaped being fined on the same ground by USFTC. 

EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Samsung on potential misuse of mobile phone standard-essential patents: EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Samsung on potential misuse of mobile phone standard-essential patents


In other headlines today, Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia raises his voice again (!) at Google - see http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2b5bead6-5b3c-11e2-8d06-00144feab49a.html#axzz2Hfay6Ehq.
I am honestly confused by the way the European Commission is pursuing its investigation on Google business practices. I do not understand well the sense of the public rethoric used by the Commission in its dealings with Google. It is creating pressure (perhaps, necessary) on Google to optimize its business practices but it also creates greater expectations for the Google competitors.  In any case, the final decision and the position of the Commission should be based less on personal convictions and more on economic analysis resulting in clear-cut conclusions.  I hope this is the case and I also hope that the European Commission and Google will eventually have a common understanding over the things to be changed in Google business practices.