The remedial measures Google adopted have failed to achieve their stated purpose, according to the latest study.
Since 2010 Google has been under the gun in the EU for various anticompetitive practices. In 2017, the European Commission fined Google 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the offense. According to a report in Reuters, Google responded at the time by offering to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of its search page to direct traffic to their sites.
A study released on Monday, however, shows that Google has failed to do what it promised. In fact, the company’s market power has actually increased in the three years since the deal.
Google’s competitors form a unified front
Now 41 of Google’s market rivals are demanding that European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to take further action against Google. They have written Ms. Vestager a letter, seen by Reuters, demanding she take action.
“We are approaching you (Vestager) because companies like ours are endangered by Google, which is artfully avoiding compliance with the law,” the companies said.
The study was conducted by the consultancy Lademann & Associates. It examined Google’s performance in comparison with various EU competitors. These included Axel Springer’s price-comparison shopping service Idealo, British company Kelkoo, France’s LeGuide and others in 21 European countries.
Thomas Hoppner, author of the study, said that Google’s proposed remedy “has further strengthened Google’s position on the national markets for comparison shopping services and has entrenched its dominance in general search.”
Hoppner is currently serving as a legal advisor to some of Google’s competitors in the matter.
Demands for Google to comply now or face sanctions
“This is not because the Commission imposed the wrong remedy,” Hoppner told Reuters. “It is because Google’s chosen compliance mechanism fails to comply with the remedy imposed.”
Hoppner has demanded that Commissioner Vestager and her team require Google to come up with a better solution. Failing that, he wants the panel to sanction the company for ignoring the order, Reuters reported.
In response, Google has said the figures and data in the study are simply incorrect. They maintain the data presented ignore the actual facts of the case.
“The remedy has worked successfully for three years, generating billions of clicks for more than 600 comparison shopping services, and is subject to intensive monitoring,” a Google spokeswoman told Reuters.