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Aug 29, 2017

Google to inform EU antitrust regulators on compliance plan

Alphabet drops after reporting lower Q2 profit on huge EU fine

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BRUSSELS  - Alphabet Inc's Google said it will notify EU regulators on Tuesday on how it plans to ensure its search engine does not favour its own shopping service over rivals'.

Google was hit with a record 2.4 billion euro (US$2.9 billion) fine from the EU over the practice in June and has until midnight on Tuesday to come up with proposals to end the anti-competitive behaviour.

The European Commission said on June 27 that the world's most popular Internet search engine had abused its dominance in Europe to give prominent placements in searches to its own comparison shopping service and demote those of rivals.

As well as ordering Google to come up with a solution, the Commission said the U.S. company must stop the practice by Sept. 28.

Google said it will communicate its compliance plan to the EU competition enforcer on Tuesday in line with the deadline.

Failure to do so could expose the company to penalty payments of as much as 5 percent of Alphabet's average daily worldwide turnover or around $12 million a day, based on the parent company's 2016 turnover of US$90.3 billion.

"It is Google's sole responsibility to ensure compliance and it is for Google to explain how it intends to do so," the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

Lobbying group ICOMP, whose members include Google rivals online mapping services Hot Map and Streetmap, as well as CEPIC (Centre of the Picture Industry) and TradeComet which owns a rival search engine, said regulators should publicise Google's proposal.

"These affect everyone in the online and mobile worlds, so they must be made public for evaluation," ICOMP head Michael Weber said.

Google is also under fire from the EU over practices related to its smartphone mobile operating system Android, where it may face a landmark fine by the end of the year, and regarding online search advertising.