European antitrust official: Google showing progress in shopping comparison case

European antitrust official: Google showing progress in shopping comparison case
© Greg Nash

The European Union’s antitrust chief said on Friday that Google is showing progress in addressing its competition concerns, suggesting that the company may be able to avoid extra fines.

“We had another compliance report ... and we see improvements in numbers but we are still following it very, very closely and have taken no decision yet,” Margrethe Vestager said at the Globsec Tatra Summit, according to Reuters.

Vestager’s remarks come just after Google submitted its second report to the commission in its work to ease competition concerns spurred by its shopping comparison tool.

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The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, had originally fined Google almost $3 billion in 2017 for abusing its market dominance to prop up its shopping comparison tool. The company displayed its price comparison chart at the top of its search results, which the EU said was unfair and would give it an advantage over startups trying to make their tools, even third-parties created better products.

The company could face further fines at up to 5 percent of its average daily global revenue for not complying with the EU.

As a part of the ruling, Google agreed to provide the EU with periodic reports, updating the group on its progress in adjusting its shopping comparison service.

Vestager said there was progress from Google’s first report to its second and that its shopping comparison rivals had a better chance to compete with it.

She noted that it's still early and that she would like to speak with Google’s competitors further.

“I take a keen interest in what some of the other shopping comparison services say. Having met with a couple of them, of course, that raises new questions for us,” Vestager said.