The following is MOW’s press release on the DOJ’s recent suit against Google. We have appended MOW’s full W3C complaint, which was sent to the CMA, DOJ, European Commission and Internet Engineering Task Force.
Movement for an Open Web (MOW) supports the Department of Justice’s case against Google. For the DOJ’s remedies to be effective, Google’s interference with the web via its bundling of Ad Systems into its consumer software as proposed W3C standards must be in the DOJ’s harms. Google’s actions harm competitors and allow them to manipulate the advertising and publishing markets for its own benefit.
Effective remedies must address the role of both the W3C and Google.
W3C needs to guarantee unrestricted participation in standards-making. W3C has been manipulated for the benefit of Big Tech platforms. The time has come to return to its original mission and lead the web to its full potential, not just the needs of Big Tech.
MOW has thus amended its 2021 complaint relating to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
A handful of web engineers from companies who depend on Google and other Big Tech platforms have a conflict of interest when developing standards. They should not be allowed to unilaterally advance changes which perpetuate browser vendors’ digital dominance. “Stacking the deck” against non-browser vendors needs to end. Dispute resolution should be subject to thoroughly independent oversight. Anti-competitive proposals need to be dismissed at inception.
James Rosewell, Director of MOW, stated “US Congress identified that Google sends over one hundred delegates where most companies only send one. Debate is inevitably distorted. Conversations that involve restricting functions to web browsers also restrict competition. These debates neither benefit society nor comply with the mission and Member Agreement of the W3C. W3C needs to change”.
Tim Cowen, Preiskel & Co’s Antitrust Chair and legal counsel to MOW, said “DOJ is to be applauded for taking on Google’s abuse to date which distorts the web to its own benefit. Plurality of the media demands equal access to advertising income. Here, Google has seen DOJ coming. It is looking to dominate online ad income and undermine publishing competitors, which threatens competing media. Its W3C proposals for browser changes would allow Google to bypass DOJ’s likely remedies. If DOJ is to provide meaningful remedies to Google’s self-preference and discrimination, it needs to address control over the browser and control over standards-making”.
Notes to editors:
See Congress’s 2020 Investigation into Competition in Digital Markets: investigation_of_competition_in_digital_markets_majority_staff_report_and_recommendations.pdf (cnbc.com), which refers to Google’s “outsized role in the formal stakeholder standards-making process”.
See the CMA’s browser investigation: Mobile browsers and cloud gaming – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
See Google’s final commitments: Appendix 1A: Google’s final commitments (publishing.service.gov.uk)
W3C Media Advisory: W3C to become a public-interest non-profit organization
See attached MOW’s W3C complaint sent to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), European Commission, Internet Engineering Task Force, and US Department of Justice.