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Google fails FT test of antitrust remedies: more EU fines?

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Google fails FT test of antitrust remedies: more EU fines?

Along with imposing the well known 2,4€ record fine, the EU Commission ordered Google back in June to stop its illegal practices and implement corrective measures By September 28.  According to a Financial Times test little has changed in Google search results.
 
Google was supposed to stop favouring its own shopping services and start ensuring equal treatment to competitors in its search results. Despite the announcement in August of the decision to comply with the EU requests competitors maintain that Google’s remedies are largely insufficient. 
 
The main change is that now other shopping comparison services such as Trovaprezzi or Idealo are allowed to bid for the shopping box ads that feature prominently on top of results pages when a user searches for a product, and that were previously reserved to Google.
 
In 500 product searches run by the FT in six countries, competitors featured in less than 1% of the shopping box ads that appeared during the trial. 
 
Surprisingly - because Google maintained that the Commission did not require changes in the search algorithm - rival shopping comparison services are instead displayed more often in regular search results. Four weeks into the implementation of the remedy, the FT found that competitors appeared in the first page of natural search results 50 times, compared to only twice in September. 
 
If the EU Commission finds the remedy insufficient, a new investigation will be launched. 
 
In the meantime, Google lodged an appeal of the Commission’s fine before the Court of Justice of the European Union. A decision is expected in the next two years. 
 
 For an exhaustive summary of the 7-year EU antitrust probe into Google’s practices,  and an overview of similar investigations the world over, refer to our briefing on the topic Google’s antitrust woes around the world.  
 

Author

Elena Perotti's picture

Elena Perotti

Date

2017-10-27 12:44

Author information

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