Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Alphabet's Google acts to comply with EU antitrust order"

From Reuters, Aug. 29:
Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) said it will notify EU regulators on Tuesday on how it plans to ensure its search engine does not favour its own shopping service over rivals’.

Google was hit with a record 2.4 billion euro ($2.9 billion) fine from the EU over the practice in June and has until midnight on Tuesday to come up with proposals to end the anti-competitive behaviour.
The European Commission said on June 27 that the world’s most popular Internet search engine had abused its dominance in Europe to give prominent placements in searches to its own comparison shopping service and demote those of rivals.

As well as ordering Google to come up with a solution, the Commission said the U.S. company must stop the practice by Sept. 28.

Google said it will communicate its compliance plan to the EU competition enforcer on Tuesday in line with the deadline....MORE
HT: Search Engine Land who ask: 

Will the proposal bring the consumer-unfriendly return of '10 blue links?
...Failing to meet the Tuesday deadline would expose Alphabet to additional fines, which could amount to millions of dollars per day. The question is: what will Google’s proposal look like? Will it affect shopping-related ad placement in search results? It’s not clear to me whether ads will be impacted.
Before current European Commission head Margrethe Vestager took office in late 2014 and adopted a more aggressive approach toward antitrust, Google was on the cusp of settlement with former European Commission competition chief Joaquín Almunia.

However, Almunia was unable to sell any of several Google proposals to colleagues and European politicians. Those proposals included modification of search results to make competitive offerings more prominent. A formal Statement of Objections was filed in April 2015 which stated the following:
  • Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits....