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谷歌面临欧盟反垄断诉讼,或步微软后尘

更新时间:2015-4-15 19:42:20 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Google Expected to Face Antitrust Charges in Europe
谷歌面临欧盟反垄断诉讼,或步微软后尘

London—The European Commission is said to be planning to charge Google with using its dominant position in online search to favor the company’s own services over others, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust cases here since regulators went after Microsoft.

伦敦——据称,欧盟委员会(European Commission)计划就谷歌(Google)利用它在网络搜索方面的主导地位,偏袒谷歌自身服务的做法提起诉讼。这可能会成为监管机关对微软(Microsoft)采取行动以来,欧洲规模最大的反垄断案之一。

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement in Brussels on Wednesday that Google has abused its dominant position, according to two people who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

两名知情人士周二在匿名的前提下透露,欧盟的市场竞争负责人玛格丽特·韦斯塔格尔(Margrethe Vestager)将于周三在布鲁塞尔发表声明,称谷歌滥用了主导地位。

The decision to push ahead with a so-called statement of objections is the latest twist in the lengthy investigation into Google’s activities in Europe, where it holds a roughly 90 percent share in the region’s search market. If Europe is successful in making its case, the American tech giant could face a huge fine and be forced to alter its business practices to give smaller competitors like Yelp greater prominence in its search queries.

采取行动发表所谓的异议声明(statement of objections)的决定,在谷歌的欧洲业务受到的漫长调查中,是最新的一步转折。在欧洲,谷歌约占搜索市场90%的份额。如果欧洲起诉成功,这家美国科技巨头就将面临巨额罚款,而且还将被迫调整其商业操作,在其搜索结果中将Yelp等规模较小的竞争对手呈现在更显著的位置。

A representative for Google declined to comment on any potential action by the European authorities. But in an internal memo to employees, first obtained by the technology news site Re/code, the company said it expected the commission to file a statement of objections about how the company displays search results, particularly for shopping. It also expected the authorities to open an investigation into Android, the Google software that runs a majority of the world’s smartphones.

谷歌的一名代表拒绝就欧盟可能采取的行动发表评论。但科技新闻网站Re/code最先取得的一份谷歌发送给员工的内部备忘录显示,谷歌表示该公司认为,欧盟委员会将会发表一份异议声明,涉及谷歌排列搜索结果的方式,尤其是有关购物的搜素结果。该公司还认为,欧盟委员会将对谷歌的Android软件开展调查,世界上大多数智能手机使用的都是Android系统。

“We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition,” the memo said. “All told, consumers have a lot of choice — and they are exercising it. And many, many other companies have very successful mobile businesses — including Apple, the most valuable (mobile) company in the world.”

“我们胜算很大,特别在为用户提供更好的服务,以及促进竞争方面,我们有非常好的论据,”备忘录显示。“总之,消费者有很多选择,而他们都在行使选择权。很多、很多公司都有非常成功的移动业务,比如苹果公司(Apple)——世界上市值最高的(移动)公司。”

It is still unclear what specific accusations Ms. Vestager plans to include in the charges against Google. But the pressure the company faces in Europe is just one of the regulatory problems that American tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Apple are facing across the 28-member bloc.

目前仍不清楚韦斯塔格尔计划对谷歌提出哪些具体的指控。但该公司在欧洲所面临的难题,只是亚马逊(Amazon)、Facebook和苹果等美国科技巨头,在这个由28个国家组成的政治联盟里,面临的诸多监管难题之一。

Europe’s antitrust officials have already opened investigations into whether Apple and Amazon received preferential treatment in their low-tax arrangements — Apple in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg. In addition, privacy watchdogs across the region are asking whether companies like Facebook have securely protected people’s online data. Policy makers are also investigating whether American Internet platforms like Amazon have too much control over how Europeans gain access to online services.

欧洲反垄断官员已在调查苹果和亚马逊在其避税安排中是否得到了优待,其中苹果公司是在爱尔兰,亚马逊在卢森堡。此外,欧洲各地的隐私监察组织也在怀疑Facebook等公司没能对人们的在线数据进行可靠保护。政策制定者正在调查亚马逊等美国互联网平台,看它们是否对欧洲人的网络服务获取构成了过多的控制。

European lawmakers have said that these inquiries are not specifically aimed at American tech companies, though many industry executives say they are aimed at helping European tech companies, which have so far been unable to rival their much larger United States competitors.

欧洲立法者们称这些调查并非专门针对美国科技公司,不过许多业内高管认为,把他们当做目标是为了帮助欧洲的科技公司,这些公司迄今为止还无法跟规模庞大得多的美国公司抗衡。

The investigation against Google has already dragged on for nearly five years at the European Commission without formal charges or a negotiated settlement. That has prompted criticism that the region’s most important antitrust enforcer has been too easy on Google.

欧盟委员会对谷歌的调查已经持续长达将近5年,至今没有正式起诉,也没有达成协议和解。有人因此指责这个欧洲地区最重要的反垄断执法机构对谷歌过分客气。

Europe’s main focus of investigation is whether Google has abused its search engine’s large market share by favoring its own products. The search engine is more dominant in Europe than in the United States, where competitors like Microsoft’s Bing have a sizable market share.

欧洲的调查主要关注谷歌是否滥用其搜索引擎的巨大市场份额,让自己的产品获得优势。谷歌搜索引擎在欧洲的统治地位要高过在美国,后者还存在微软的必应(Bing)等竞争对手,占据了相当一部分市场。

Ms. Vestager, a Danish politician who took over as the European Union’s top antitrust official in November, is scheduled to travel to Washington later this week, where she is expected to meet senior justice officials and participate in antitrust conferences.

11月接任欧盟最高反垄断官员的丹麦政治人物韦斯塔格尔计划在本周晚些时候前往华盛顿,她在那里应该会见一些高级司法官员,并参加反垄断会议。

More than two dozen companies and organizations have filed antitrust complaints in Europe against Google. Many are in Germany, where powerful publishing groups and online firms have called on the European regulator to stop the American search giant from blocking competition in sectors like online mapping, travel services and shopping.

在欧洲已经有数十家公司和机构投诉谷歌垄断,其中许多来自德国,那里的一些强大的出版集团和网络公司向欧洲监管机构呼吁,阻止这家美国搜索引擎巨头在网络地图、旅行服务和购物等领域阻挠竞争的行为。

“The E.U. competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will decide what steps they want to go,” Günther Oettinger, a German politician who is charge of Europe’s digital economy, told Die Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, on Sunday. “I think that they will be far-reaching.”

“欧盟竞争委员玛格丽特·韦斯塔格尔会决定他们将采取那些措施,”分管欧洲数码经济的德国政治人物金特·厄廷格(Günther Oettinger)周日对德国报纸《周日世界报》(Die Welt am Sonntag)说。“我认为相关措施会产生深远影响。”

If Google fails to rebut any formal charges, Ms. Vestager could levy a fine that could exceed 6 billion euros, or $6.4 billion — about 10 percent of Google’s most recent annual revenue. But the largest single fine yet levied in such a case falls well short of that mark: The record is 1.1 billion in 2009 against Intel for abusing its dominance of the computer chip market.

如果谷歌无法反驳任何正式指控,维斯塔格尔可以对其处以超过60亿欧元(约合396亿元人民币)的罚款——大概是谷歌最近一年的年收入的10%。不过此类案件迄今做出过的最高额罚款远远低于这个数字:目前的纪录是2009年创下的,当时英特尔(Intel)因滥用电脑芯片市场绝对优势地位被罚11亿欧元。

The commission previously spent years reining in Microsoft, which accrued a total of almost 2 billion in European fines over a decade, including a penalty in 2013 for failing to adhere to an earlier settlement.

此前,欧盟委员会曾耗费数年时间对微软加以控制,令这家公司在10年里累积向欧洲支付了将近20亿欧元的罚款,包括在2013年因未能履行较早前的一份和解协议而受罚。

Google still could settle the matter. But whatever the search giant might negotiate with the commission, analysts say, the deal will have a greater impact on its business than previous attempts to settle. Ms. Vestager’s predecessor, Joaquín Almunia, gave Google three opportunities to make concessions that were aimed at allowing the company to escape both a fine and a formal finding of wrongdoing.

谷歌依然有望达成和解。然而分析人士说,不管搜索巨头跟委员会如何协商,这一次的协议对其业务的影响,都将超过此前的几次和解努力。维斯塔格尔的前任华金·阿尔穆尼亚(Joaquín Almunia)曾给了谷歌三次妥协的机会,旨在让该公司逃脱一项罚款和一项正式的不法行为裁决。

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