The European Commission (EC) has announced today (14 July) that it has taken further steps in investigations alleging Google’s comparison shopping and advertising-related practices breach EU rules. In a statement issued today, EC said that it has sent two Statements of Objections to Google. The Commission has reinforced, in a supplementary Statement of Objections, its preliminary conclusion that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages.
Separately, the Commission has also informed Google in a Statement of Objections of its preliminary view that the company has “abused its dominant position by artificially restricting the possibility of third party websites to display search advertisements from Google’s competitors”.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate. Today, we have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages. It means consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation.
“Google now has the opportunity to respond to our concerns. I will consider their arguments carefully before deciding how to take both cases forward. But if our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets.”
The supplementary Statement of Objections on comparison shopping follows a Statement of Objections issued in the same case in April 2015. Both Statements of Objections are addressed to Google and its parent company, Alphabet.
Click here to see the full text of the EC statement, hosted on the Europa website.