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Google offers to open shopping-ad slots to rivals

The proposal follows the European Union's order that Google treat its own services and those of its rivals equally, according to Reuters.

EU and Technology

The European Union's and Google's dispute isn't over yet.


Google could soon give rivals the opportunity to bid for ad spots in its own shopping section, Reuters reported Monday.

The offer is Google's latest attempt to settle the European Commission's antitrust case, said Reuters, citing four people familiar with the matter. In its long-running antitrust case against Google, the Commission has accused the company of favoring and promoting its own shopping service in search results.

The European Union slapped Google with a 2.4 billion euro ($2.87 billion) fine in June for not rectifying the issue, which the EU claims is unfair to rivals and denies consumers a choice of shopping services. By putting its own service front and center in what are known as the "Product Listing Ads," Google knows shoppers are more likely to click on them, the Commission argues. The Commission is the EU's executive arm.

Google appealed the EU's ruling, but it is making this offer as well.

The search giant made a similar proposal to try to settle the case three years ago, except that it insisted on reserving the top two ad spots for itself -- something the Commission rejected. Now Google has proposed that all spots be up for grabs, although Google is insisting that it set the floor price with its own bids.

Google did not immediately respond to request for comment.