eu travel tech Welcomes Opening of Non-Compliance Investigation into Alphabet’s Implementation of Ban on Self-Preferencing under the DMA

eu travel tech welcomes the European Commission’s decision to open a non-compliance investigation into Alphabet’s implementation of Article 6.5 of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This critical move underscores the critical importance of fair competition and consumer choice in digital markets, particularly concerning Google Search and the power its holds to stir the preferences and choices of its more than 300 million monthly users.

Article 6.5 of the DMA is designed to ensure that gatekeepers do not favour their own services over those of competitors. The DMA further clarifies that this provision targets self-preferencing practices where a gatekeeper promotes its own online intermediation services (OISs) through an online search engine, to the detriment of similar third-party services. This obligation is therefore crucial to ensure that Google’s competitors in specialised search have a fair chance to reach end users on the gatekeeper’s search engine.

In the travel search domain, Google’s OISs – offering comparisons of hotels, flights, trains, vacation rentals, and more – directly compete with services from companies including eu travel tech members. However, Google’s current solutions clearly breach Article 6.5 by continuing to present the gatekeeper’s travel services on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) in a significantly more attractive and interactive manner than those of any third party.

Google’s approach contradicts the spirit and letter of the DMA and continues to disadvantage all business users by entrenching Google Search’s dominant position.

“With the opening of the non-compliance investigation into Alphabet, the European Commission is sending a strong signal that Google Search practices need to change fundamentally. The time has come to finally put an end to the practice of self-preferencing, giving users a real opportunity to discover the web,” stated Annalaura Gallo, EU Affairs Director at eu travel tech.

We commend the European Commission’s proactive stance in investigating these concerns. It is imperative for the DMA to deliver its intended outcomes, ensuring a travel search market that benefits consumers and allows businesses to compete on the merits. eu travel tech stands ready to support the Commission’s efforts to ensure swift compliance with the DMA and to promote a fair and competitive digital market for all.