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Saturday 22 October 2016

eBay supports Google over Brussels antitrust probe

Published 27/04/2015 | 08:27

eBay CEO John Donahoe
eBay CEO John Donahoe

eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe has supported arguments made by Google in its defense in an antitrust case, saying the two companies are direct competitors in online shopping.

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Barriers between different areas of online commerce are breaking down, Mr Donahoe said in an interview with the Financial Times, highlighting the challenges the European Commission faces in bringing the high-profile case.

The European Union accused Google of cheating consumers and competitors by distorting online search results to favor its own shopping service, after a five-year investigation that could change the rules for business online.

Google said in a blog post that it strongly disagreed with the EU's statement of objections and would make the case that its products have fostered competition and benefited consumers.

The tech giant said that European regulators have not recognised how companies such as eBay and Amazon dwarf it in terms of online shopping, which it argues would render how it displays product queries redundant.

Asked if eBay was a direct competitor of Google Shopping, Mr Donahoe said: “Yes...we are a strong commerce competitor [of Google’s].” 

The investigation could result in multi-billion euro fines and new limitations on Google's business activities in the lucrative EU market that makes up an estimated one-third of the company's revenue.

Google, which employs almost 5,000 people in Dublin, had sought to avoid fines and sidestep any finding that it violated antitrust laws by trying for two years to reach a settlement with the EU.

But competitors objected to Google's proposal that they pay for their services to be displayed next to Google's above search results.

EBay and Google were not available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.


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