European antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager reportedly stated during a recent conference that Google’s efforts to drive more traffic to European comparison shopping rivals have failed.
Reuters reports that European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said during a Web Summit conference that Google’s efforts to create a level playing field for price comparison shopping rivals in order to avoid further E.U. fines have failed. Two years ago, Vestager hit Google with a 2.4-billion-euro ($2.65 billion) fine for favoring its own shopping services over rivals and was told to cease anti-competitive actions.
In response, Google offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of search pages, Vestager has now stated that this is not working. Vestager stated during the Web Summit: “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.”
British price-comparison firm Foundem, which caused the initial investigation and subsequent fine of Google, has stated that the company is not complying with the E.U. ruling and has called on Vestager to open a non-compliance case.
Vestager also stated that she is investigating Google in another case relating to its Android mobile operating system, for which the firm has already been fined 4.34 billion euros for blocking rival web browser developers by pre-installing its Chrome browser and search app on Android smartphones and notebooks.
Vestager stated: “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.”
Google has stated that it will allow rivals to compete to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe but that they would have to pay for the privilege, rivals have since criticized Google’s auction fees.