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After $9 Billion in Fines, EU Says Something Nice About Google

Aoife White

(Bloomberg) -- After fining Google more than 8.2 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in three antitrust cases, a European Union official finally had something nice to say about the Internet giant.

Olivier Guersent, the head of the European Commission’s antitrust arm, said Google’s efforts to provide more choice in shopping search results lead to “good, positive developments.” Guersent’s comments Wednesday potentially ease the threat of new fines for the Alphabet Inc. unit.

Smaller shopping search services have complained that Google isn’t fully complying with a 2017 order to include results from rivals in product ads that appear above search results. Google got what was then a record EU fine for discriminating against other services.

Guersent said there’s a substantial increase in rivals appearing in Google’s shopping ads, up from none before the EU took action in 2017, he told an online conference with other regulators organized by the International Competition Network.

Google’s $2.6 Billion Fine Is Like Loose Change, Judge Says

Guersent warned that the EU’s role was to stop anticompetitive behavior and restore fair conditions, not to ensure that rivals won more business or obtained compensation.

“For us the objective of the remedy, of any remedy, is to re-establish the competitive process,” he said. “I don’t think any authority in the world can guarantee a specific markets outcome and I don’t think we should even try to.”

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