For about six years, authorities in the EU have been investigating allegations of anti-competitive behavior on Google's part. The charges include things like pushing down or altogether erasing competitors' results in shopping search listings, blocking out rivals in their search ads, and using their Android operating system's dominance to box out competitors in the mobile space, as well as push their own software via bundling. Formal charges were filed against Google in April, and the case against Google was strengthened and expanded by the Commission back in July. While the charges on Android remain unanswered, Google has laid out their official response on the shopping and search charges; they are officially denying the allegations. This means that EU officials will have to present their evidence and battle Google over the issue, and if things end badly for Google, it could mean fines of up to $7.4 billion per case.
According to Google and their legal counsel, Kent Walker, the approach that Google uses to figure out both what shopping results head to the top, outside of clearly declared sponsored results, and what ads are displayed in their search service is all based on user data aggregation, mostly through user profiling and figuring out what results are the most popular, and promoting those. According to Walker, this method, billed as "organic", does not decrease "the quality or relevance of the information we received." He went on to point out that officials should look to competitors like Amazon, Facebook, and other online advertising firms to see that competition in search advertising and in shopping is alive and well.
One possible way out for Google was to accept a proposal by the Commission that would entail them displaying rival services prominently for a fee, with no regard to user popularity or product quality. Google rejected this and stuck to their guns, asserting that their "organic" method was the superior choice for users, did not stifle competition, and was within the bounds of applicable laws. According to the Commission, Google's formal response has not yet been received. Spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said that the Commission will look over Google's responses carefully before taking any action on any open cases, and that it's far too early on to predict how things may go at this point.