Google was given a fine of $2.9 billion as part of an antitrust finding by the European Commission for favoring its content. The commission has given Google until the 28th of September to propose a remedy, even as the search giant appeals the decision.
The formal statement of objections filed in 2015 was the basis for the fine. The objections centered around the following issues:
Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits.
Google does not apply to its comparison shopping service the system of penalties which it applies to other comparison shopping services by defined parameters, and which can lead to the lowering of the rank in which they appear in Google’s general search results pages.
As a result of Google’s systematic favoring of its subsequent comparison shopping services, Google Product Search, and Google Shopping, both experienced higher rates of growth, to the detriment of rival comparison shopping services.
The remedy addresses these considerations and more importantly ensures that the European Commission acknowledges that the top strip in question is an advertising block and should not be free.
As part of the remedy, Google will create a separate entity known as Google Shopping which will bid for those ad slots in competition with the other comparison shopping sites. The comparison shopping sites are not happy with the remedy, although it looks like the European Commission has no issues with the proposal.