Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Facing a Record €2.42 billion ($2.7bn) Fine, Google Says It Respectfully Disagrees

First up, Red Herring:

Google Faces Record Fine over Search Results
The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion ($2.7bn), a record amount, for breaching its antitrust rules. It deemed the company has abused its power as the world’s leading search engine, by manipulating results to favor its own online Shopping platform.

Google must end the practice within 90 days “or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover” of Alphabet, its parent company. That would total around $14m according to the company’s most recent financial reports.

European commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager acknowledged in a statement that, “Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing.

“But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals,” she added. “Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.

“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”,,,.MORE
Here's the European Commission press release:
EU Commission fines Google €2.42B for abusing search engine dominance by promoting its own shopping service, gives 90 days to end conduct or face penalties 

And from Google:

The European Commission  Decision on Online Shopping: The Other Side of the Story
When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And merchants want to promote those same products. That's why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.

We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections. While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data show that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches.

We think our current shopping results are useful and are a much-improved version of the text-only ads we showed a decade ago. Showing ads that include pictures, ratings, and prices benefits us, our advertisers, and most of all, our users. And we show them only when your feedback tells us they are relevant. Thousands of European merchants use these ads to compete with larger companies like Amazon and eBay....MORE 
As Bezos says "What the Hell?"

See also June 15's ""Google Slammed with €1 Billion Fine By EU Over Market Domination and AntiTrust Behaviour" (GOOG)" and:

"Market share does not necessarily equate to market power" Says Guy Who Lobbies For Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft

"Why EU Monopoly Search Ruling Will Be a Tipping Point for Alphabet-Google" (GOOG)