2017-06-28

EVIL GOOGLE: European Commission €2.42B (US$2.73B) Antitrust Fine

EU's Vestager Sees 'No Reason' Google Shouldn’t Comply

June 27, 2017: European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager discusses the EU’s antitrust case against Google and compliance from the company. She speaks with Bloomberg.com's David Westin on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."

Graphic of Google Anti-Competitive Conduct using Google Search and Google Shopping
source: European Commission
"... Google has abused this market dominance by giving its own comparison shopping service an illegal advantage. It gave prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets. Google introduced this practice in all 13 EEA countries where Google has rolled out its comparison shopping service, starting in January 2008 in Germany and the United Kingdom. It subsequently extended the practice to France in October 2010, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain in May 2011, the Czech Republic in February 2013 and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden in November 2013 .... 
"The Commission Decision requires Google to stop its illegal conduct within 90 days of the Decision and refrain from any measure that has the same or an equivalent object or effect. In particular, the Decision orders Google to comply with the simple principle of giving equal treatment to rival comparison shopping services and its own service:
Google has to apply the same processes and methods to position and display rival comparison shopping services in Google's search results pages as it gives to its own comparison shopping service.
"It is Google's sole responsibility to ensure compliance and it is for Google to explain how it intends to do so. Regardless of which option Google chooses, the Commission will monitor Google's compliance closely and Google is under an obligation to keep the Commission informed of its actions (initially within 60 days of the Decision, followed by periodic reports).
"If Google fails to comply with the Commission's Decision, it would be liable for non-compliance payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company. The Commission would have to determine such non-compliance in a separate decision, with any payment backdated to when the non-compliance started.
 "Finally, Google is also liable to face civil actions for damages that can be brought before the courts of the Member States by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour. The new EU Antitrust Damages Directive makes it easier for victims of anti-competitive practices to obtain damages.
"Other Google cases
The Commission has already come to the preliminary conclusion that Google has abused a dominant position in two other cases, which are still being investigated. These concern:
1) the Android operating system, where the Commission is concerned that Google has stifled choice and innovation in a range of mobile apps and services by pursuing an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in general internet search; and
2) AdSense, where the Commission is concerned that Google has reduced choice by preventing third-party websites from sourcing search ads from Google's competitors.

"The Commission also continues to examine Google's treatment in its search results of other specialised Google search services. Today's Decision is a precedent which establishes the framework for the assessment of the legality of this type of conduct. At the same time, it does not replace the need for a case-specific analysis to account for the specific characteristics of each market.
Background
See also Factsheet. [embed further below]
Today's Decision is addressed to Google Inc. and Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.
Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement prohibit abuse of a dominant position. Today's Decision follows two Statements of Objections sent to Google in April 2015 and July 2016.More information on this investigation is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number 39740." 
[emphasis added]--European Commission - Press release - Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 [US$2.73]  billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service (embed below):

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service - Factsheet (embed below):

Shares of Alphabet Inc. on the NASDAQ: GOOGL and GOOG, traded lower on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

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