Business development · 28 June 2017

Google EU ruling could prevent small retailers competing with Amazon and eBay

The Google EU ruling has been criticised by the search engine as favouring large companies over independents
The Google EU ruling has been criticised by the search engine as favouring large companies over independents
Following the recent Google EU ruling, which sawthe search engine hit with a 2.1bn fine for breaching competition law, the European Union (EU) has been accused of directly threatening the ability of small retailers to compete with companies the size of eBay and Amazon.

The European Commission imposed the penalty after a seven-year investigation concluded Google had distorted search engine results in favour of its own shopping channels, pushing rival services down the rankings.

If Google fails to change practices within 90 days, it will be fined up to five per cent of parent company Alphabet’s average daily turnover.

However, Kent Walker, the search engine’s senior vice president and head lawyer, has now hit back at the Commission, claiming it has sided with large corporations against small retail businesses.

In an official blog post, Walker said Google’s search results reflected user feedback and natural price comparison results.

when you use Google to search for products, we try to give you what you’re looking for. Our ability to do that well isnt favoring ourselves, or any particular site or seller it’s the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback, he wrote.

Explaining the decision taken by Brussels legislators, EU commissioner Margarethe Vestager said Google had denied the genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation? by actively punishing its biggest competitors.

Walker refuted this position and claimed Google ads were fair and gave retailers vital exposure among large competitors.

when you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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