Streetwise Professor

September 9, 2014

The Euros Get Tough on Google, But Run and Hide From Gazprom

Filed under: Commodities,Economics,Energy,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:09 pm

The European Commission’s competition commissioner has scuppered a proposed settlement with Google. The Commission has already taken many pounds of flesh from Microsoft and Intel over the past year, so now it is looking to add some Google cuts to the meat locker.

What about the EU’s case against Gazprom, you ask? <Crickets.>

I’m not a big Google or Microsoft fan, but the accusations leveled against them (and Intel) are highly speculative. Gazprom’s exercise of market power, and its protection of that market power, is almost textbook. The egregious price discrimination, and its use of contractual terms (no re-sale) to support that discrimination, is a blatant example. So on the merits, the Gazprom case should proceed and the Google case should be settled, and on anything but onerous terms.

But the craven Euros quake before Gazprom. Indeed, they seem to be even less willing to confront the company now that Putin is on the war path.

They have a better case against Gazprom, and that case could be a political lever in what is an existential battle over European security: Putin and the Russians have ranted and raved about the case when the Euros did press it some, which indicates that it hits the company, and hence Russia, where it hurts.  But rather than hitting this pressure point, the Euros bury the case and go kick Google instead.

Don’t think that Putin doesn’t notice. And know that it is exactly this kind of cowardice that emboldens him.

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5 Comments »

  1. O/T Prof: are you submitting anything to the IOSCO study on commodity warehousing?

    You published on this didn’t you – or was that some other egghead?

    Comment by Green as Grass — September 10, 2014 @ 7:34 am

  2. Obama gets tough on Blueberry Farmers, bur runs and hides from OPEC- where the bylaws explicitly state its monopolistic purpose.

    Comment by scott — September 10, 2014 @ 8:02 am

  3. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579353342283922028

    Comment by scott — September 10, 2014 @ 8:03 am

  4. @Green. Not submitting anything to IOSCO. I have written about the warehousing issue on the blog, and wrote about some related issues (in grain) donkey years ago.

    To summarize: Warehouse games have been going on since the middle of the 19th century.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 10, 2014 @ 11:01 am

  5. More on abject cowardice. After loudly and proudly refusing Russia’s demands to change the EU-Ukraine association agreement, claiming they are sovereign parties, EU and Ukraine quietly postponed the implementation of the agreement until 2016, thus weakening Ukrainian economy only when it matters most.

    Comment by Ivan — September 13, 2014 @ 12:26 am

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