Google has fined $ 2.7BN for EU antitrust violations over shopping searches

Google has fined $ 2.7BN for EU antitrust violations over shopping searches

For some context on the magnitude of the fine, Google’s (Alphabet’s) full year earnings for 2016 was near $90BN. The Commission stated the fine was calculated by the value of Google’s earnings from its comparison shopping service from the 13 EEA (European Economic Area) countries concerned.

Its finding Conditions that:

Google has included a range of standards as a consequence of, in these algorithms. Evidence demonstrates that the most highly ranked service appears on average on page four of the search results of Google, and others appear farther down. Google comparison agency isn’t subject to the generic search algorithms, including demotions of Google.
Because of this, the EC said it found Google’s comparison shopping service is far more visible to consumers in Google’s search results, while competition comparison shopping services are not as visible.

It demoted services and has promoted its company. It has harmed consumers and competition. That is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

“This choice requires Google to change how it works, and to confront the consequences of its activities,” she added.

(Although such a fine for non-compliance would take a separate Commission choice — but could be backdated to the date of when the non-compliance started).

That’s a fantastic thing. However, the plan for its comparison service of Google was about attracting clients by making its product better.

Vestager confirmed it would be up to Google to think of a remedy to comply with the Commission’s decision — although it’s going also to face (probably years of) being closely monitored by authorities for compliance.

And a principle that is simple must be respected by Google — it must provide equal treatment to its own and comparison shopping services. It must apply the same method and procedures to position and display its own and equivalent market services to compare in search results, “she added”.
“This means that Google cannot simply quit dong what it is doing today and replace it with other clinics having the same or an equal anticompetitive effect. It’s the sole responsibility of Google to guarantee compliance. And it is to clarify how it intends to do so. I don’t have any reason to think that Google is not going to comply.”

We will check the Commission’s decision in detail as we believe an appeal, and we anticipate continuing to make our case.

“When you shop online, you need to discover the products you’re searching for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to market those products that are very same. That is why Google shows shopping advertisements, connecting our clients with thousands of subscribers, big and small, in ways that are useful for both,” he added.
The firm said it would “review the Commission’s decision in detail since we believe an appeal.”

Vestager further noted that “anybody who has suffered damage from Google’s illegal behavior can claim compensation from Google before domestic courts.

There are no investigations to those products at this time, although she stressed.

A precedent which may be utilized as a framework to examine the legality of such behavior.”

Her division would, however, be looking carefully at the specific “features, detail and difference” — and “the facts” — at every extra marketplace where concerns are held about a Google product, she added.

“Regardless of whether they operate on the internet or on high roads, irrespective of whether they are European or not. We invite you to get the possibility of 500 million citizens, and the most from the marketplace — and 500 million potential customers. For being successful and we congratulate you.

You’ll never receive a complimentary pass to stop competing on the merits — neither at the marketplace you dominate, nor at other markets.”

Dominant companies, since Google has been officially judged, “need to be vigilant” and have a “special responsibility” to ensure they aren’t in violation of antitrust rules, ” she added, stressing this implemented both “from the marketplace where it is dominant” and “in almost any other marketplace.”

Even though the record-breaking $2.42BN fine is very likely to dominate the headlines, the prohibition of Google’s immensely damaging search manipulation practices is a lot more important. There can not have been Contest cases in which the stakes for consumers, companies, and invention were.

There are limits to the gatekeeper power. Google can deploy its insidious search manipulation techniques to commandeer the lion’s share of traffic and sales in almost any online sector of its choosing, quietly crushing competition, innovation, and consumer choice in the procedure.”

The Commission still has two exceptional formal investigations to Google’s company — into its search marketing practices, and the way it packages other Google products using its Android phone OS (that in certain European markets have about an 80 percent market share).

On these ongoing investigations, Vestager had frightening words for Google — indicating it’s also inclining towards a finish of anticompetitive behavior. Although she highlighted no decision was made.

She said: “We’re also making significant progress with our two other pending inquiries into specific Google practices concerning Android, in addition to search advertising. Our preliminary — and that is obviously important; these are preliminary — conclusions concerning both practices is they violation EU antitrust rules.”

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