Home Technology Regulation Google makes offer on shopping sites in bid to avoid EU fine

Google makes offer on shopping sites in bid to avoid EU fine

Facing an EU deadline of 28 September to come up with a solution to the charge of using its search engine dominance to favour itself in its comparison shopping service, Google has made an offer to display rival shopping sites through a bidding process.

Citing four sources who were acquainted with the matter, Reuters reported that the search giant's proposal met with nothing but criticism from its competitors.

Google's reaction in this case is likely to be used by European Union investigators to guide them in two other probes that are ongoing.

The EU fined the company €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion) in June and ordered it to end its behaviour within 90 days or else face penalties of up to 5% of the daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, its parent company.

The EU said in July that Google could also face a fine over how it pays and limits mobile phone providers who use its Android mobile operating system and app store.

A third investigation, into Google's Adsense advertising service, may also bring a fine; the EU is said to have made a preliminary determination that Google has abused its dominant position.

Google last week launched an appeal against the fine, after having said late in August that it would adjust its search methods to comply with the EU's demands.

The sources said that Google's proposal, submitted on 29 August, offered to allow competitors to bid for spots in its shopping section known as Product Listing Ads.

Reuters quoted EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager as telling the media in Washington on Monday: “It is at this point in time of course impossible to say what will happen but obviously market reactions will be one of the things that we’ll be taking under consideration.”

EU spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said: "It is Google’s sole responsibility to ensure compliance with the Commission antitrust decision, and it is for Google to explain how it intends to do so.”


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.