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Google faces EU antitrust investigation for job search



EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaks on 20 April 2016 in Brussels for a press conference.

Francois Lenoir | Reuters

Google has received a total of $ 9.5 billion in antitrust fines from the European Union over the past two years.

Now another EU antitrust case is starting – this time via the job search tool "Google for Jobs".

In a speech on Tuesday, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager drew parallels between Google for Jobs and the company's comparison shopping service, which was fined $ 2.7 billion in 201

7 for anti-competitive behavior against Google.

"We're just seeing if the same thing could have happened to other parts of Google's business – like the job search business known as Google for Jobs," Vestager said.

A European Commission spokesperson confirmed a preliminary investigation to CNBC Google for Jobs is ongoing, but does not want to comment on the timing or outcome. A preliminary investigation involves gathering information and may or may not lead to a formal antitrust investigation. The formal EU antitrust investigations can take years and result in fines of up to 10% of a company's annual turnover.

The EU spokesman told CNBC that the Commission's cartel decision on Google in 2017 gives us a framework for considering other specialized search services such as Google Jobs and Local Search ", but added that each service needs to be audited individually. [AtstakeiswhatVestagercallscompaniesthatactas"playersandreferees"InthecaseoftheGooglejobsearchtoolforexamplethecompanycouldprioritizeitsownplatformforjobsearchonGoogle'ssearchresults

In In a statement, a Google spokesperson said, "It can be difficult to find a job. That's why we've worked Every provider – from individual employers to job listing platforms – can use this feature in search, and many of them have significantly increased the number of applications received. To start, we made a number of changes to to improve the feedback in Europe.

Anti-competitive behavior

Earlier this month, 23 job search sites across Europe signed a letter to Vestager requesting the EU to conduct a formal investigation into Google's Anti-competitive Behavior Jobs Reuters published a "collective view that Google is abusing its market dominance as a generic search service by favoring its own online recruitment service, Google for Jobs, on its general search results pages."

Danish Job Search Company Job Index was one of the signatories In an interview with CNBC, Jobindex CEO Kaare Danielsen said he was "very worried" about Google's impact on local recruitment platforms.

"This is a big competitor," he said, "They have been conquered market by market. "

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has Google in relation to the Ka a tough attitude. In addition to the 2017 fine, Google had to charge a record $ 5.1 billion in 2018 for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system. In March, the Commission imposed an additional $ 1.7 billion fine on Google to block competitors in the advertising sector.

Google has appealed against the fines and found that products like the search feature provide quick and easy connections for consumers and businesses. So far, EU fees have had little impact on corporate earnings, as its parent company, Alphabet, has grown more than 25% over the past two years.

Vestager, whose term of office is set for October, also announced a formal antitrust investigation against Amazon in July for its role as a "dual role" as a dealer and as a marketplace.

The US Department of Justice is conducting its own antitrust review of "market-leading online platforms" such as Google and Amazon, and Facebook and whether they have reduced competition and harmed consumers.

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