Google Search Case (Shopping)
Prevent Google from abusing its ultra-dominant position in the search engine market by promoting its own price comparison service.
In May 2015, after seven years of investigation started by Mr. Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Competition from 2004 to 2014, with whom Google had succeeded in 2014 in obtaining an agreement to avoid a substantial fine – ultimately flouted by the multinational – our association decided to file a formal complaint against Google and its practices of favoritism of its own services and provided evidence as to the ineffectiveness of the search engine’s settlement proposals.
The European Commission, under its new Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, imposed on June 27, 2017 a fine of 2.42 billion euros on Google for violating EU competition rules.
Indeed, the American giant was accused of abusing a dominant position in the search engine market by conferring an illegal advantage on its price comparison service, Google Shopping. It has given greater visibility to its own price comparison service, preventing other companies from engaging in fair and transparent competition, thereby depriving European consumers of a real choice of services.
Google has decided to appeal this decision.
Regarding the remedial measures, the results are disappointing since the American company decided to set up in September 2017 an auction system supposed to guarantee fair competition. However, to appear prominently on the very visible insert of Google Shopping results, price comparators (including Google Shopping itself) must bid with Google, which remains very problematic at the present time.
The OIP continues to closely monitor the remedies proposed by Google and stresses the importance of the European Commission’s decision and its compliance.
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