Google is reportedly separating its shopping service after European Union antitrust fine

Jerome Frank
September 29, 2017

The Commission had accused Google, part of the California-based Alphabet group, of giving its own shopping service unfair advantages over the competition.

Google is bringing some significant changes to how it displays search results in Europe, but it looks like nobody is fully satisfied.

In June, Google was ordered by regulators to stop promoting its own shopping search results over competitors' and to make changes by September 28th created to give rivals a better chance to compete.

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She added: "Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives". The company is appealing against an initial €2.4bn (£2.1bn) fine tabled by the commission last June as a effect of the ruling. Moreover, the way ads are presented to users would be redesigned. It claims the company has used control over the Android operating system to force device manufacturers to install Google as the default search service. Such search products, like restaurant and business reviews, are increasingly lucrative. "There are no reserved slots for Google Shopping or other CSSs [comparison shopping services]", Google writes in an explainer graphic posted to the Google Europe Twitter account. That unit will remain part of its overall business, but it will operate separately and will be subject to monitoring by the European Commission. This might mean that other price comparison sites' ads displaying products could appear.

On the one hand, such a move would separate Google's search business from its shopping service. Now some of the slots will be filled by rival comparison-shopping services and will include links to their sites. Some of the companies that brought the case, such as Foundem, a now dormant British comparison-shopping site, have already said that an auction will not guarantee equal treatment and is just a new source of revenue for Google.

"We're confident these cases will ultimately be decided based on the facts and that this analysis will show our product innovations have benefited consumers and merchants, and expanded competition", said Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, in a blog post past year. Authorities gave the company a September 28 deadline to change their practices in order to give competitors a level playing field. Google presented its plans to the commission at the end of August but did not make them public until Wednesday.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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