On Monday, more than 40 European competitors to Google’s shopping service urged EU antitrust regulators to use newly adopted tech rules to ensure Alphabet unit complies with a 2017 EU order to allow more competition on its search page.
Google was fined 2.4 billion euros ($2.33 billion) by the European Commission five years ago and told to stop favoring its shopping service.
Following that, the company stated that it would treat its own shopping service the same as competitors when bidding in an auction for advertisements in the shopping box that appears at the top of a search page.
However, in a letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, the 43 companies, which include British firm Kelkoo, France’s LeGuide Group, Sweden’s PriceRunner, and Germany’s idealo, claimed that the proposal was legally insufficient and that they had not benefited from the ad auctions.
“The Commission needs to re-open space on general search results pages for the most relevant providers, by removing Google’s Shopping Units that allow no competition but lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers and an unfair transfer of profit margins from merchants and competing CSSs to Google,” the companies said in the letter seen by Reuters.
CSS stands for Comparison Shopping Services.
They claimed that Google’s mechanism violates the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Vestager’s new rules aimed at limiting the power of tech behemoths that will take effect in May of next year.
“Google’s prominent embedding of Shopping Units is a prima facie infringement of the DMA’s ban on self-preferencing,” they said.
“Considering the unambiguous new legal framework, it is now time to walk the talk. The most paramount case at the heart of the calls for the DMA needs to be brought to an effective end,” the companies, from 20 European countries, said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)