August 29, 2017 / 2:00 PM / in 3 months

Alphabet's Google acts to comply with EU antitrust order

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google GOOGL.O has submitted details of how it plans to stop favoring its shopping service to comply with a European Union antitrust order, EU regulators said on Tuesday.

The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The world’s most popular Internet search engine, a unit of Alphabet Inc, had earlier on Tuesday said it would meet the EU deadline to do so.

Google was hit with a record 2.4 billion euro ($2.9 billion) fine from the EU over the practice in June and had until midnight on Tuesday to come up with proposals to end the anti-competitive behavior.

The European Commission said on June 27 that Google had abused its dominance in Europe to give prominent placements in searches to its own comparison shopping service, demoting those of rivals.

As well as ordering Google to come up with a solution, the Commission said the U.S. company must stop the practice by Sept. 28.

Failure to do so could expose the company to penalty payments of as much as 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover -- or around $12 million a day, based on the parent company’s 2016 turnover of $90.3 billion.

“Google will continue to be under an obligation to keep the Commission informed of its actions by submitting periodic reports,” a spokesman for the EU executive said after saying the proposal had been received.

Lobbying group ICOMP, whose members include Google rivals online mapping services Hot Map and Streetmap, as well as CEPIC (Centre of the Picture Industry) and TradeComet which owns a rival search engine, said regulators should publicize Google’s proposal.

“These affect everyone in the online and mobile worlds, so they must be made public for evaluation,” ICOMP head Michael Weber said.

Google is also under fire from the EU over practices related to its smartphone mobile operating system Android, where it may face a landmark fine by the end of the year, and regarding online search advertising.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop/Jeremy Gaunt

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