Regulation

Google Offered To Display Rival Comparison Shopping Sites To Appease EU

Google, aiming to prevent more fines from the European Union (EU), is offering to display competing comparison shopping websites through an auction, reported Reuters.

Citing four people familiar with the matter, Reuters stated that in a proposal submitted to the European Commission in late August, Google said it would let rivals bid for spots on its Product Listing Ads section in the shopping section on its website. Reuters stated that feedback from this proposal has largely been negative, which is unfortunate, given the fact that such a reaction could hurt its chances to appease the EU, which has already fined the company a record $2.7 billion in an antitrust lawsuit.

In an interview with Reuters, Foundem, the U.K. price comparison company that prompted the EU investigation and subsequent regulation back in 2010, told Reuters it was not satisfied with the auction offer.

“Unless Google is volunteering to break up its general and specialized search businesses, the inclusion of Google’s comparison shopping competitors into a new or existing pay-for-placement auction would simply create an additional anti-competitive barrier,” the company told Reuters.

Last week, TechCrunch reported news that Google is appealing the regulatory fine dealt by the EU for engaging in anti-competitive behavior due to its product search comparison tool. According to the report, the EU ruling, in which it fined Google a record $2.7 billion for giving its own service “an illegal advantage by abusing its dominance in general internet search,” is being appealed by Google parent Alphabet in the hopes that the tech regulation will be overturned.

The report pointed to the fact that earlier in September the ECJ, Europe’s top court, ruled a lower court needs to review an appeal by Intel over a separate antitrust lawsuit. ECJ judges ordered a lower court to reexamine the tech regulation decision that kept the antitrust judgment in place, according to the report. The ECJ argued the lower court did not properly analyze economic aspects of the lawsuit.

Although the two cases have nothing to do with each other, TechCrunch reported the ruling gives Google a glimmer of hope it can successfully appeal its case.

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