Back in 2017, the search engine giant Google was fined €2.4 billion for abusing its dominant market position in the area of general internet search. Numerous retailers and price comparators believed that by placing its comparison shopping service at the top of the search results page, Google is gaining an unfair competitive advantage in the product and price comparison market.
Voicing out against Google!
In this regard, LadenZeile.de, one of the leading online shopping portals in Germany, along with 40 others, have therefore sent an open letter to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. According to the letter, the undersigned small and medium-sized digital companies are pushing for the effective finalization of the prohibition decision against Google Shopping issued in 2017.
Furthermore, the signatories of the letter agree that Google’s abuse continues to this day. In fact, a lot of signatories are appearing publicly for the first time to express their displeasure with Google’s behaviour.
Dr. Johannes Kotte, Managing Director of LadenZeile, said:
Ten years after the opening of proceedings against Google and more than two years after the Commission’s prohibition decision, Google has still not effectively put an end to its abuse.
Tomáš Braverman, CEO of the Czech price comparison Heureka., said:
We are watching with the greatest concern that Google is becoming more and more aggressive in our market instead of ending the abuse. While Google is trying to maintain the appearance of fair competition, the situation is much worse today than it was two years ago.
Commissioner signaled dissatisfaction!
The authors of the letter, therefore, call on the EU Commissioner to finally put Google in its place by effectively enforcing her own decision. Notably, the Commissioner also signaled dissatisfaction against Google’s work, “we still do not see much traffic for viable competitors when it comes to shopping comparison.”
Astounding amount of damage to European consumers!
According to a recent study, Google Shopping prices are, on average, 14% higher than those of the competition. As a result, it is estimated that the damage to European consumers amounts to billions every year.
Google will also attack other markets with its unfair practices. The European digital economy as a whole is at risk. According to my estimation, tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs are at stake – in dozens of small and medium-sized European companies that pay their taxes honestly. The EU Commission must therefore now put Google clearly in its place and demand effective remedies from Google – in other words, fair and equal treatment of all comparison shopping services, including the Google Shopping Unit.
Image credits: Shutterstock/Aaron-Schwartz
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