Google Has 24 Hours To Avoid More Antitrust Fines In The EU

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Google has 24 hours to avoid more antitrust sanctions from the European Union, with its first compliance report deadline given as part of the largest anti-competitive fine in the history of the political bloc expiring Sunday. Tomorrow, the Alphabet-owned company will have to officially detail how it's attempting to comply with the European Commission's order to stop abusing its dominant position in the Internet search market by promoting its shopping service at a direct expense of rivaling solutions. Many competing online services are claiming the tech giant's initial attempt to make its shopping search results less biased toward its sister platform isn't working and they're still avoiding the platform, urging the EC to pressure the company into doing more with additional sanctions.

Google was hit with a €2.4 billion ($2.98 billion) fine in June largely based on the fact that the top ad spots on its shopping-related Search results were reserved for its own price comparison service. The firm's first attempt at making the ecosystem more open to competitors was to auction off all ad spots on such pages but the top units are still mostly being purchased by its own division, critics argue. "You need to put a remedy in that effectively fixes the abuse and they have not done that," Kelko Group CEO Richard Stables said of the EC's attempt to pressure Google into stopping its anti-competitive behavior. The British price comparison service was one of the first such companies to sue Google for antitrust practices in the U.K. and is still buying ad slots on its platform but claims it continues to be at a major disadvantage.

The Mountain View, California-based tech juggernaut is likely to argue that its shopping division which is still purchasing most top advertising spots on relevant Search results pages is required to remain profitable on its own, i.e. it cannot abuse its relationship with Google Search by overpaying for ads during auctions and counting on its parent to subsidize its investments. Most of the firm's opponents are expected to respond to such claims by calling for added concessions from the Internet giant, arguing that many years of Google's supposedly illegal practices allowed it to gain a massive advantage over its rivals and come to a point where it can start playing by the rules again because it's too big to fail or even just lose significant market share in the online shopping segment. It's presently unclear how likely is the EU's antitrust watchdog to issue additional fines to the company. Google already appealed the original verdict but is now facing the threat of being fined up to five percent of its daily revenue starting Monday for the duration of what the EC deems its non-compliant period.

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