Google Rejects EU Antitrust Charges
Google Inc. recently announced it is rejecting European Union’s demand to change the way the tech company ranks online comparison shopping services in search results. After all, Google believes that EU antitrust regulators have failed to provide a legal justification for such a demand, among other things. Rather, the tech company argues, “Improving quality isn’t anti- competitive.”
The European Commission has accused Google of abusing its dominant position in the search engine market by showing bias to its own comparison shopping product, Google Shopping, in its general search results page. This is reportedly done by showing Google Shopping “more prominently” in the search results. A separate investigation has also been opened regarding Google’s conduct on its mobile operating system, Android.
This, in turn, diverts traffic away from shopping services using displays of paid ads from merchants. Moreover, Google also allegedly prevented online shoppers from reaching shopping aggregators such as Amazon and eBay. This reportedly prevents them from being able to compete in the market. On the other hand, the European Commission also expressed concern that users may not be seeing the most relevant search results with Google’s alleged practice. This in turn leads to the “detriment of consumers.” The European Commission also believes it “stifles innovation.”
Google counters that it has actually been able to provide as much as 20 billion free clicks to shopping aggregators with free traffic increasing to an impressive 227%. Traffic for shopping services has been dynamic and progressive. Moreover, Google believes that its search is readily able to provide the most relevant search results along with the most useful ads in response to a certain query. This way, users and advertisers stand to gain maximum benefits from each search.
There is no response yet from the European’s Commission regarding Google’s defense. The Guardian reports that should the commission rule against Google, the tech company, in theory, can be fined as much as 10% of its turnover during the previous year.
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