Alphabet unit Google has offered to display rival comparison shopping sites via an auction as part of an EU compliance order following a landmark fine for favoring its own service, four people familiar with
the matter said on Monday.
The proposal, submitted to the European Commission on August 29 following a record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.87 billion) penalty, would allow competitors to bid for any spot in its shopping section known as Product Listing Ads, the people said.
Three years ago, the world’s most popular internet search engine made a similar offer in an attempt to settle a long-running investigation by the European Commission and stave off a fine. The offer was ultimately rejected following negative feedback from rivals and discord within the EU executive.
Under this earlier proposal, Google had reserved the first two places for its own ads. The new offer would also see Google set a floor price with its own bids minus operating costs. The company has sought feedback from competitors.
The offer does not address the issues set out by EU competition regulators, the people said. The Commission had ordered Google to treat rivals and its own service equally.
“This is worse than the commitments,” one of the people said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The Commission was not immediately available for comment.
Google did not respond to a request for comment. Google has until September 28 to stop its anti-competitive practices or its parent company Alphabet could be fined up to 5 percent of its average daily worldwide turnover.