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Yelp Just Threw a Monkey Wrench Into Google’s Billion-Dollar Antitrust Case | TIME

It will be very interesting to watch how this develops. This would be a major blow to Google and huge change to local optimization strategies.

Yelp has joined those opposed to the European Union’s proposed antitrust settlement with Google, opponents of which believe the American search giant has not been fully prosecuted for its ostensibly self-promoting search engine.

Yelp filed a formal complaint against the E.U.’s proposed settlement on June 1, though it was only recently surfaced. In the complaint, Yelp accuses Google’s search engine of favoring Google Plus Local, according to the New York Times. Google Plus Local directly competes with Yelp, an increasingly popular site where users can discover, rate and review local businesses.

Google avoided a multibillion-dollar antitrust fine when it reached a provisional deal with European regulators in February, in which it agreed to alter its display of search results. The E.U.’s antitrust commissioner, Joaqun Almunia, is expected to finalize the settlement later this year before he leaves office this fall. Yelp, however, says Google is getting off too light.

I truly fear the landscape for innovation in Europe is infertile, and this is a direct result of the abuses Google has undertaken with its dominant position, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in a letter in May to European Commission President Jos Manuel Barroso, who oversees Almunia.

The E.U.’s investigation of Google began in November 2010 when several companies, including Microsoft, whose Bing search competes directly with Google search, accused Google of promoting its own services in search results. Google dominates the search engine market in Europe, where nearly 80 percent of Internet searches are made on Google, compared to 65 percent in the U.S., according to comScore.