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Fourteen price comparison sites have written to the EU in Google's longest-running competition case, asking the European Commission (PDF) to rip up the remedy it agreed with Google.
The case began after a British startup, Foundem, vanished from Google in 2006. The startup also saw a 10,000 per cent increase in the price of Google Adwords after Google downgraded its "Landing Page Quality" rating. That led to Google's first antitrust investigation and, to cut a very long story short, a remedy was ultimately agreed last year.
Remedy - Google - Place - November - Firm
The remedy, which Google started to put into place in November 2017, requires the firm to open up auction slots for third-party price comparison sites in its Shopping tab.
Foundem argued that an oversubscribed auction obliges participants to bid away their potential profit. Third-party sites were bidding for those slots against Google, whose own bids cost nothing. Counsel for FairSearch, which represents the sites, Thomas Vinje, predicted in April that this incentive structure would be a flop.
Competitors - Anything - Auction - Nature
"Competitors do not see [that] they will achieve anything from the auction because of its nature," he said. This appears to have been borne out.
Partners don't really compare prices, but can include product catalogues of clients...
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