Despite an order from the European Union’s antitrust watchdog to curb its anticompetitive practices, Google continues to boost its market power, according to Reuters, which cited a study released Monday (Sept. 28).
In 2017, the European Commission, responsible for managing the day-to-day business of the EU, fined Google 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the offense. In response, Google offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of its search page to direct traffic to their sites, Reuters reported.
But rivals insist the solution has failed. They have asked Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, to take action against Google for noncompliance.
A study of 25 Google rivals by Lademann & Associates, a German-based consultant on the European antitrust law, revealed the global technology company based in Mountain View, California, continues to favor its own price comparison shopping service.
“It [Google’s proposal] has further strengthened Google’s position on the national markets for comparison shopping services and has entrenched its dominance in general search,” Thomas Hoppner, the study’s author and adviser to several Google rivals, told Reuters. “This is not because the Commission imposed the wrong remedy. It is because Google’s chosen compliance mechanism fails to comply with the remedy imposed.”
Hoppner asked the panel to require Google to devise a better solution or admonish the company for ignoring the order, Reuters reported. In response, Google said the figures in the study ignore the facts.
“The remedy has worked successfully for three years, generating billions of clicks for more than 600 comparison shopping services, and is subject to intensive monitoring,” a spokeswoman told Reuters.
Google is also facing antitrust allegations in the U.S. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is close to bringing lawsuit against Google in which prosecutors will focus on the multinational technology conglomerate’s power over internet searches.
Attorney General William Barr has vowed to bring the case against Google by Oct. 1 in advance of the Nov. 3 election. The probe, which was launched last year, is intended to uncover whether the tech giant is engaged in illegal antitrust practices.
In addition, dozens of separate lawsuits from attorneys general nationwide are expected to target Google’s other business sectors.
Last year, Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra said fining tech companies is not enough.
“We’re not going to solve some of these problems just by small-time fines that aren’t going to change the underlying business model of these firms,” he said. “We actually have to take a hard look at whether these behemoths are killing off innovation and competition.”