Google’s last-ditch move to avoid record fine

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By James Tit­comb

GOOGLE launched a mid­night at­tempt to dis­rupt the record fine it was handed for mo­nop­oly abuse, EU doc­u­ments re­veal.

A re­port qui­etly pub­lished by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in the week be­fore Christ­mas re­veals that Google sub­mit­ted new ev­i­dence at 11:40pm on June 26 – less than 12 hours be­fore it was hit with a €2.4bn (£2.1bn) penalty.

Google was forced to pay the fine after a seven-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims it had used the dom­i­nance of its search en­gine to squeeze out price com­par­i­son web­sites in favour of its own shop­ping ser­vice. Its late ev­i­dence, based on re­search from data spe­cial­ists Nielsen, showed “strong com­pe­ti­tion” ex­er­cised by on­line re­tail­ers such as Ama­zon. The ex­is­tence of Ama­zon, ebay and oth­ers has been a cen­tral plank of Google’s in­sis­tence that its prac­tice of set­ting aside spe­cial ter­ri­tory in search re­sults for its shop­ping ser­vice does not harm con­sumers.

How­ever, by the time Google’s ev­i­dence had ar­rived, the com­mis­sion had al­ready de­cided to fine the com­pany. The “pro­hi­bi­tion de­ci­sion”, a 215-page re­port into its com­pe­ti­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion, chas­tised the firm for fail­ing to come up with the in­for­ma­tion ear­lier.

“The com­mis­sion con­sid­ers it highly un­likely … that Google could not have sub­mit­ted the stud­ies well in ad­vance of the late evening,” the re­port says.

Google’s €2.4bn fine is the big­gest ever for break­ing EU com­pe­ti­tion law.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.