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Image credit: Mike Blake / Reuters

Google will reportedly separate shopping service after antitrust fine (updated)

The internet titan wants to symbolically separate its ad income from the ads atop search results.
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Mike Blake / Reuters

Google is reportedly separating its price-comparison shopping service into a standalone unit after getting fined for a record-setting $2.8 billion by the EU after a legal battle over antitrust practices. The internet titan appealed the decision, but will comply with the EU court's order to allow competing shopping services access to the page-topping ad slots at the top of search results, sources told Bloomberg.

The EU's seven-year investigation found that users searching for products on Google Shopping were shown the company's own links over competitors' in the coveted ad slots at the top of the page, despite Google's being less relevant. The internet titan has until tomorrow, September 28th, to comply with the court's order to allow other companies to bid on those ad slots on an even playing field, without Google subsidizing its own bids with its ad money. Separating Google Shopping into a standalone unit will illustrate that.

Google is expected to announce its full plans for its Shopping entity tomorrow to make the deadline; If it fails to comply, the EU court could fine Google up to five percent of its daily revenue. But the company will continue appealing the court's decision.

Update: This post has been updated to clarify that Google is making its shopping service a standalone business unit, not spinning if off into a new company.

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