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EU: Is antitrust mega-lobbying backfiring?

 |  August 1, 2013

The tendency to over-lobby on major cases taken up by the European Commission may actually be backfiring on major corporations like Google and MasterCard, according to a blog post published Wednesday by the Financial Times. The post comes just one day following the European Commission’s swiping payments regulations that restricts credit card giants’ interchange fees, a major blow to MasterCard that spent time and money lobbying the issue. MasterCard’s approached was slammed as a “mad campaign,” one that was “insufferable and counterproductive,” according to European Commissioner Michel Barnier. While the blog considers that MasterCard’s lobbying may have been successful in that the European Commission did not outright ban interchange fees entirely, the author, Alex Barker, suggests that such mega-lobbying may make EU regulators “more irritated than converted.” A similar example occurred with the antitrust case against Google and its methods of displaying search results; the lobbyists on the side of Microsoft rallying against Google, often portrayed as the fighters for consumer rights, appeared to have annoyed EU Commissioner Juaquin Almunia. In a past interview he described the complaints as “noise and fury,” and a fury that “neither Google nor the Commission” partook in. It’s a trend that may warrant lessons learned from future lobbyists, said Barker.

Full Content: Financial Times Blog

Click here to read a statement by the FTC.

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