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【经济学人】谷歌怎么了?

2015-04-22 突突突 经济学人赏析

在历经五年的反复争论之后,欧盟委员会最终宣布对谷歌提起诉讼。欧盟发布公告指控谷歌在搜索和安卓两方面存在垄断行为。对此,谷歌通过官方博客和内部信进行反驳.如果欧盟结果裁定下来,谷歌将要为此交付超过60亿美元的罚款。本文带你从另一个角度围观谷歌与欧盟之争。

文章译者为@突突突 ,校对@aurora W @Nelson @Ennis



Europe v Google:Nothing to stand on 谷歌vs欧盟:无地立足 

Europe is right to worry that it lacks big digital platforms. But reining in Google is no solution

欧盟对于缺乏大型数字平台的担忧是有道理的,但对谷歌严加控制并不能解决问题


“GIVE me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” So Archimedes explained the power of levers in the physical world. The digital realm has levers of its own: “platforms”, the technological fulcrums upon which many businesses can be built. Control of an important platform is a source of economic power. Microsoft used the power of its Windows operating-system platform to shape the destiny of an entire industry—and to capture an outsized share of its profits. Some worry that Google’s dominance of the web-search business lets it perform a similar trick today.

阿基米德这样解释物理学中的杠杆力量,“给我一个支点,我就能撬起地球。”数字领域也有其自身的杠杆:“平台”,多种业务可以搭建在这个技术支点上。取得一个重要平台的控制权能促进经济实力的增长。微软曾依靠Windows的影响力决定了整个PC操作系统行业的命运,获取极高的利润份额。现今一些人担心谷歌会效仿微软的把戏,利用其在网络搜索业务中的主导地位撬动整个行业。


Europe is taking no chances. On April 15th the European Commission sent a “statement of objections”, an indictment of sorts, to Google, accusing it of abusing its dominant position in the internet-search market and reviving an antitrust case that has dragged on for five years. A day earlier Günther Oettinger, the European Union’s digital commissioner, gave a speech arguing that it was necessary to “replace today’s web search engines, operating systems and social networks.”

欧盟没有掉以轻心。4月15日,欧盟委员会向谷歌发出一份类似起诉书的“异议声明”,指控谷歌滥用在欧洲互联网搜索市场的主导地位,并重启已经拖延5年的反垄断诉讼。前一天欧盟数字专员冈瑟•厄廷格发表讲话,他认为有必要“取代今天的网络搜索引擎,操作系统和社交网络。”


In Europe Google handles more than 90% of web searches, making it the place to be for many advertisers. Whether it has harmed consumers by using its dominant platform to steer them away from rival services and towards its own, such as Google Shopping, is at the heart of the case. In contrast to the previous competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, the new one, Margrethe Vestager, clearly thinks it has.

谷歌占据欧洲互联网搜索市场90%以上的份额,成为很多广告商的必争之地。谷歌利用自身优势平台将客户从竞争对手处引向自己的服务平台,如谷歌购物,此举是否伤害消费者利益为本次诉讼的核心。欧盟新任竞争事务专员玛格丽特•韦斯塔格与前专员乔奎因•阿尔穆尼意见相反,她认为谷歌的行为明显伤害了消费者权益。


Instead of getting bogged down in negotiations with Google over how exactly it should redesign its search-results pages to give rival services more prominence, Ms Vestager wants the case to set broad principles of fairness that Google would have to adhere to. For now she has narrowed the scope of the case to the firm’s shopping service: if the outcome is that Google has to abide by certain principles over this matter, these could then be applied in others, such as whether Google makes it hard for advertisers to take their data to other platforms. She has also launched a separate formal investigation of Android, Google’s mobile operating system, amid allegations that it forces device-makers to give its smartphone apps preferential treatment.

维斯塔格想通过此次诉讼制定一套谷歌必须遵循的公平性原则,而不是无休止地与谷歌进行谈判,讨论该如何重新设计搜索结果页面使竞争对手处于更突出的位置。目前维斯塔格将诉讼范围缩小至谷歌的购物服务:如果谷歌最终需要在这件事上遵循某些原则,届时将这些原则被应用到其他方面,比如谷歌是否使得广告商难以将数据转移到其他平台上。外界指控谷歌迫使设备制造商给予其开发的智能手机APP特惠待遇,维斯塔格还对谷歌的安卓系统展开独立的正式调查。


Google (whose executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, sits on the board of The Economist’s parent company) told staff in an internal memo that it has a “very strong case” to make against all the allegations.

谷歌(其执行董事埃里克•施密特是《经济学人》母公司董事会的成员)通过一份内部备忘录向员工表示,公司有“充足的理由”应对所有的指控。


In the search case the statement of objections may not become public for many months, and even then it will only appear in a redacted form. But an inadvertently leaked report from America’s Federal Trade Commission, which ultimately decided not to sue Google, suggests the firm has a case to answer: it says that Google purposely demoted rival sites. But the statement is not a final decision. And if the European Commission limits what Google can do, and especially if it imposes a fine (it can levy up to 10% of annual revenues, or $6.6 billion), the case may go to court and drag on for years.

在此次因搜索而起的诉讼中,欧盟委员会的异议声明可能数月都不会向外公开,到时发布的也只会是修订的版本。但是美国联邦贸易委员会一份不经意间被泄露的报告显示该机构最终决定不起诉谷歌。报告写到“谷歌故意降低对手的搜索排名”,这可能预示着谷歌需要应诉。但这份异议声明并非最终判决。如果欧盟委员会限制谷歌的服务范围,甚至处以罚款(罚款最高可达年销售额的10%,相当于66亿美元),双方可能会对簿公堂,案件也会一拖数年。


The commission’s move against Google is not overtly political and protectionist. However, it is part of a broader trend. As Mr Oettinger’s speech shows, Europe is belatedly discovering its failure to develop many of the platforms underpinning the online economy. Much of the world’s digital territory has in effect been ceded to America without a fight. “Our online businesses are today dependent on a few non-EU players,” said Mr Oettinger. “This must not be the case again in the future.”

欧盟委员会针对谷歌采取的行动并非公开的政治行为与贸易保护主义。但委员会的举措预示着更为广泛的反垄断趋势。正如厄廷格在讲话说所提到的,在支撑网络经济的诸多平台的开发上,欧洲人很晚才意识到自己的失败。实际上全球数字领域的多数份额都被拱手让与美国。厄廷格认为,“我们今天的在线业务只能依赖少数几家非欧盟企业,未来这种情况一定不能再出现。”


The big danger, Mr Oettinger warned, is that as the world relies ever more on platforms operated by Google and other American firms, they may be able to repeat this trick in areas that have hitherto been Europe’s forte: fashion, energy and luxury vehicles, for instance. “We might invest in producing wonderful cars, but those selling the new services for the car would be making the money.”

厄廷格警告称,欧洲面临的一大问题在于随着全球越来越依赖谷歌和其他美国公司运营的平台,他们可能会在欧洲的强势领域如时尚,能源和豪华车行业故伎重演。“我们可以投资生产令人惊叹的汽车,但赚得盆满钵满的是那些出售新型汽车服务的商家。”


That worry is understandable. But rather than trying to rein in American firms, European politicians should focus on fixing what is holding back the old world’s most promising platforms: the lack of a common digital market. Today only 15% of consumers shop online across borders within the EU. To set up Europe-wide operations, an e-commerce firm has to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops, from tax rules to labour laws, in each country. Alas, the digital strategies recently outlined by Andrus Ansip, another commissioner, are so far short on substance. If Europe wants to be America’s equal in the creation of new technological platforms, it needs to recognise the importance of scale. America, with its large and open domestic market, has it. Europe does not.

厄廷格的担忧也是可以理解的。缺少共同的数字化市场成为制约昔日最具前景平台发展的因素,欧盟政治家应该集中精力解决这一问题而不是试图遏制美国公司的主导地位。现在欧洲地区仅有15%的消费者参与欧盟内的跨境网购。一家电子商务公司若想在整个欧洲范围内开展业务,在每个国家官僚体制内都需要越过重重关卡,从税收规则到劳动法。可惜的是,另一位委员安德鲁斯•安西普近日提出的诸多数字战略缺乏实质性内容。如果欧洲想要在新型技术平台的创建上与美国势均力敌,就必须认识到市场规模的重要性。美国庞大而开放的国内市场确保其拥有较大的用户规模,但欧洲并没有。


生词注释 

1.But reining in Google is no solution.

rein in sth, to start to control a situation more strictly 开始对(某种情况)严加控制

The government is reining in public expenditure.政府正在收紧公共开支。


2.The digital realm has levers of its own: “platforms”, the technological fulcrums upon which many businesses can be built.

realm, a general area of knowledge, activity, or thought(思想,活动,知识的)领域,范围

fulcrum, the point on which a lever turns, balances or is supported in turning or lifting something (杠杆的)支点


3.capture an outsized share of its profits

outsized, larger than normal 超过正常尺寸的,特大的


4.an indictment of sorts

indictment, an indictment is an official charge made to a person(organization)控告;告发;起诉

Of sorts, if you describe something as a thing of sorts or of a sort, you suggest that the thing is of a rather poor quality or standard 勉强称得上是,算得上是


5.reviving an antitrust case that has dragged on for five years

Drag on, if an event or situation drags on, it continues for too long (事情)拖延地进行  

Drag on+for  drag on for years


6.Instead of getting bogged down in negotiations with Google

Bogged down, if you are bogged down in a particular thing, it prevents you from making progress or getting something done. 陷入泥沼;停滞不前

Don’t bogged down in details.不要再细节上陷入泥沼


7.sits on the board of The Economist’s parent company

Sit on a board/have a seat on a board, be a member of a board 是董事会的成员


8.it has a “very strong case” to make against all the allegations

A strong case,very good set of reasons

There is a strong case for getting parents more involved in the schools’ activities.有充分的理由让家长更多地参与学校的活动


9.even then it will only appear in a redacted form

Redact:1,编写,草拟(声明,宣言等) 2,编辑,编纂,修订


10.an inadvertently leaked report

Inadvertently(=unconsciously), without realizing what you are doing 不经意地


11.suggests the firm has a case to answer 应对诉讼,应诉


12.it says that Google purposely demoted rival sites

Demote, if someone demotes sth, it gives a lower rank or a less important position, often as a punishment使降级

He was demoted to the rank of ordinary solider.他被降为普通兵。


13.it can levy up to 10% of annual revenues, or $6.6 billion

Levy, officially say that people must pay a tax or charge 征收,收取(税项或费用)

Levy a tax/charge/fine etc(on sth)


14.The commission’s move against Google is not overtly political and protectionist

Overt, something that is overt, for example behavior or an action, is done or shown in an open and obvious way.(行为,行动等)公开的,公然的,明显的


15.Europe is belatedly discovering its failure to develop many of the platforms underpinning the online economy

Belated, something that is belated happens or comes later than it should have done 误期的,来迟的

The government is making a belated attempt to stop profiteering.政府正试图阻止投机获利,但为时已晚。


16.Much of the world’s digital territory has in effect been ceded to America without a fight

Cede, if you cede something to someone, you let someone else do or have something, often unwillingly and because you have been forced to(常指迫不得已地)让出,割让

The Louisiana colony was ceded to Spain in 1762.路易斯安那殖民地于1762年割让给了西班牙。


17.areas that have hitherto been Europe’s forte: fashion, energy and luxury vehicles, for instance

Hitherto, refer to something that has been true or that has been happening until now;a formal word 迄今为止,到目前为止

Forte, if a particular is your forte, you are very good at it 特长,擅长,拿手好戏


18.focus on fixing what is holding back the old world’s most promising platforms

Hold back, prevent someone or something from making progress 阻碍某人/某事(的发展)

They felt the British economy was being held back by excessive government controls.他们认为由于政府过度控制,英国的经济发展受到了阻碍。


19.an e-commerce firm has to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops, from tax rules to labour laws, in each country

Jump/go through hoops, if someone makes you go through the hoops or puts you through the hoops, they make you go through an unpleasant or difficult experience or test 经受重重考验,克服诸多困难


20.Alas, the digital strategies recently outlined by Andrus Ansip, another commissioner

Alas, used to express sadness, shame or fear 唉,哎呀(表示悲伤、羞愧或恐惧)



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