Google has proposed to make up a level playing field for shopping rivals price comparison to avert from fines due to the company not giving more customer traffic to their competitors, Europe’s antitrust chief had said on Thursday.
Google had been fined two years ago by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager with 2.4 billion euros ($2.65 billion) for recommending their own price comparison shopping service over others and was told to stop their anti-competitive business practices.
The company has offered to let their competitors bid for advertising space to see who gets the top spot on the search page so that all their competition has a fair chance of competing. But this did not seem to work, Vestager had said.
Web Summit conference was told by Vestager that, “We may see a show of rivals in the shopping box. We may see a pickup when it comes to clicks for merchants. But we still do not see much traffic for viable competitors when it comes to shopping comparison,”
The original complaint that brought up the EU case against Google was, Foundem, a British price comparison service. They have said that the company has not abided to the EU ruling and would like Vestager to set in motion a non-compliance case.
In a different case that had involved Android mobile operating system, Vestager had said that she was looking into Google’s proposal closely. In this case, Google had been fined 4.34 billion euros for pre-installing the Chrome browser onto Android phone search apps which in turn had blocked their rivals.
“So now Google will launch a choice screen where competitors can be chosen, and also as the default, with prices that are much more affordable than in the first version. It remains to be seen how this will work but we will follow it very very closely,” she said.
Competitors have criticised Google for making their rival companies pay to be able to take part in the bid to be the default search engine on Android devices in Europe.