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Google is hitting back at European Union charges that it took advantage of its dominant search engine to unfairly promote its own shopping and advertising services over rivals.

Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker dismissed the allegations against the tech giant in a blog post on Thursday, writing that Google was being penalized for simply improving the quality of its products.

{mosads}”In recent years, we’ve improved the format of our ads to include more informative displays with pictures, prices, and links where you can buy products. Showing more useful ads benefits us, our advertisers, and most of all, you, our users,” Walker wrote.

“That’s why we disagree with the European Commission’s argument that our improved Google Shopping results are harming competition. As we said last year in our response to the Commission’s original Statement of Objections (SO), we believe these claims are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.”

At issue is how Google displays results when people do searches for products they want to buy. Walker said Google has made changes to provide more information to users and merchants not to promote their own services.

“We never compromised the quality or relevance of the information we displayed. On the contrary, we improved it,” he said. “That isn’t ‘favouring’ — that’s listening to our customers.”

If the EU ultimately rules against Google — like it did Apple — the company could face billions of dollars in fines and demands to change how it runs its shopping comparison and Adsense businesses in Europe.

Walker also criticized how the EU reviewed the market for online shopping services. He said regulators took a too narrow view and excluded companies like Amazon and eBay.

“[The EU] claimed that when we offered improved shopping ads to our users and advertisers, we were “favouring” our own services — and that this was bad for a handful of price comparison aggregators who claimed to have lost clicks from Google,” Walker’s post read. “But it failed to take into account the competitive significance of companies like Amazon and the broader dynamics of online shopping.”

It’s only the latest salvo in a long fight between Google and European regulators.

Google has received multiple extensions to respond to the multiple EU charges over its services. Walker said Google will also respond to separate charges against its Android operating system in the coming days. The EU deadline to do so is Nov. 11.

U.S. lawmakers and government officials have blasted the EU for what they see as unfair targeting of American businesses on antitrust and state aid charges. Since 2015, the EU has fined Apple and Starbucks and is currently investigating Amazon and McDonald’s.


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