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Google creates separate unit for shopping service to satisfy EU demands

Update – Google has confirmed reports it has created a new division for its shopping service to satisfy EU demands. A spokesperson said:

“We’re implementing a remedy to comply with the European Commission’s recent decision.  We’re giving comparison shopping services the same opportunity to show shopping ads from merchants on Google’s Search results pages as we give to Google Shopping.  Google Shopping will compete on equal terms and will operate as if it were a separate business, participating in the auction in the same way as everyone else.”

The original story continues below.

Google is poised to spin out the team behind Google Shopping in an attempt to address competition concerns raised by the EU, Bloomberg has reported.

Under the plans, Google Shopping staff will operate in a standalone unit and be made to bid against rivals for ads shown at the top of Google’s search page, three sources close to the investigation told the news agency.

The search giant has until tomorrow (27 Oct) to comply with the EU’s antitrust ruling, or Alphabet – Google’s parent company – could face fines of up to 5 per cent of its daily global turnover.

It was handed a record £2bn fine in June for breaching antitrust rules, but has since said it will issue an appeal. The Californian firm will still have to pay the fine, but it can deposit it in a blocked account until the end of the case.

Google submitted its plans to comply with European regulators in August. Margrethe Vestager, the European antitrust commissioner, told French news agency AFP in September that the approach “pointed in the very right direction”.