Google’s competitors have ruled Wednesday “inappropriate” the solutions presented by the US group, threatened with financial sanctions by the EU, to put an end to the anti-competitive practices of its price comparison service “Google Shopping”.
These solutions – called “remedies” in the European jargon – are “in force for four months and the attacks on competition, consumers, and innovation caused by the offense (…) continued unabated”, write about twenty companies in a letter to the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
Accused by the Commission of abusing its dominant position in online research to promote its price comparison “Google Shopping”, the US giant had been sentenced in late June to a record fine of 2.42 billion euros in this file.
But in addition to this conviction, the group was forced to submit in September “remedies” to put an end to the offense, under penalty of penalty.
He had proposed to manage “Google Shopping” independently: for four months, the new autonomous entity participates, like all other competing price comparison services on the Internet, to auctions to place advertisements at the top of the Google search page.
Specifically, when a user launches a search in Google for a product, such as a toaster or a fridge, appears at the very top of the first page a kind of advertising panel consisting of several boxes showing a result with photo and with the name of the price comparator used. Each of these boxes is auctioned between price comparators.
“We respectfully urge the Commission to reject Google’s current cure proposal,” write the competing companies in the mail.
If the solutions offered by Google are not considered satisfactory by the European Commission, the company is liable for penalties of up to 5% of the global average daily turnover of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
The European executive – who has confirmed that he has received the letter – will then have to acknowledge this breach, any amount being due to retroactive effect.
“We are watching closely and actively,” he said, but “it would be premature at this point for the Commission to take a stand on Google’s plans.”
For its part, Google has ensured that his remedies were “consistent with the decision of the European Commission”, through the voice of his spokesman Al Verney.
“As requested, price comparison services have the same ability as Google Shopping to show vendor ads on Google search results pages,” he told AFP.
Google has also appealed the financial penalty imposed by the EU.