Google clears deck for huge antitrust fight

Competing for ad space just like everyone else

It said it could auction search result links to rival online shopping websites.

The EU is also expected to soon decide another case against Google over abusing its dominance of internet search to impose its Android mobile operating system.

Currently, rival comparison-shopping sites can buy space on top of Google search pages and display photos of relevant goods and links to retailers.

"Unless Google is volunteering to break up its general-and specialised-search businesses, the inclusion of Google's comparison shopping competitors into a new or existing pay-for-placement auction would simply create an additional anti-competitive barrier", it said.

The shopping service will have its own accounts, which it will provide to the European commission to scrutinise, and there will be Chinese walls within the company to ensure it gains no competitive advantage, Google said.




The shift comes after the American company was hit by a record antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros in June for unfairly favoring its own services over those of its rivals.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, has cleared the deck for a huge antitrust fight.

In a statement issued immediately after the ruling, Google said it "respectfully" disagreed and was considering whether to appeal. "Google Shopping will compete on equal terms and will operate as if it were a separate business, participating in the auction in the same way as everyone else". As you can imagine, the search giant is not too happy about the ruling and the changes it's had to make, but curiously enough, it seems like those on the opposite side aren't satisfied with Google's measures either.

The EU competition commission is believed to be readying an even larger fine, possibly as soon as next month, for this, but will likely also require further remedies. Google did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment. Rival price comparison services, like Germany's Idealo and a Dutch comparison site called Vergelijk, would earn money from merchants whose products, from refrigerators to electronic gadgets, they are advertising. 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.

"It would be premature at this stage for the Commission to take any definite positions on Google's plans..."

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