In June, the EU fined Google for $2.7 billion in charge of “favoring its own content”. It was the biggest penalty in EU antitrust history for the unfair favor of its shopping service. This means that Google was giving prominent placement only to its own content and was downgrading the rivals. Google was giving a significant benefit to its own comparison shopping service as compared to rivals. As a result of this, rivals suffered a considerable loss of traffic. After gathering the evidence, EU fined Google and the company then reportedly chose to appeal the decision.
In the meantime, Google has been required to offer other presentation of the result as an alternative presentation to deal with and respond to the EU decision. Reuters says that the company “has offered to display rival shopping comparison sites via an auction”. The fine was a part of an EU compliance order for giving preference to its own service in the search.
No particular details of the proposal of the Google are seen yet; the concept of this approach is just like the “rival links” proposal, which after it was proposed could not be successful to resolve the antitrust issue before the antitrust case (formal Statement of Objections) was filed in 2015.
Instead of favoring its services on the top of the search result, Google offered them an opportunity to bid on those positions. Reuters reports the Google submitted the proposal to the European Commission and that proposal would allow the alternative shopping content providers “to bid for any spot in its shopping section known as Product Listing Ads.
As the earlier “rival links” was not supported by the European shopping sites and Google competitors, there is no guarantee that this Google proposal will be accepted or will have a positive response.
At that time it was not possible to say about the response of the proposal and it could not be judged what will happen but the thing to be considered was the market reaction.
Four to five competitors gave tremendously negative feedback which made the Google’s efforts useless for winning over EU antitrust regulators. There are chances of further fine if Google does not successfully give equal treatment to the rivals and its own service. To avoid a further fine, Google made another offer after three years which was again rejected after being criticized by the competitors and the EU executive.
According to that proposal, the first two places would be reserved for the Google’s own ads and would also set a floor price with its own bids minus operating costs.
The issue that EU competition regulators set out was not supposed to be addressed in this offer and was again not supported. According to European Commission, it was Google’s obligation to observe its cease and desist order.
The responsibility of the Google is to comply with the Commission antitrust decision. There was no response of Google to a request for a comment.