European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is
poised to fine U.S. technology giant Google in the coming months
for using its algorithm to unfairly demote rival shopping
services in internet search results, said she was vigilant to
such illegal practices.
"I don't think competition enforcers need to be suspicious of
everyone who uses an automated system for pricing. But we do
need to be alert," Vestager said at a conference organized by
the German cartel office Bundeskartellamt.
She pointed to the challenge of tackling sophisticated cartels
which use software to fix prices and allocate markets among
themselves to the detriment of customers and the economy, saying
sanctions should reflect and deter this new tool used by
"So as competition enforcers, we need to keep an eye out for
cartels that use software to work more effectively. If those
tools allow companies to enforce their cartels more strictly, we
may need to reflect that in the fines that we impose," Vestager
The European Commission can penalize companies up to 10 percent
of their global turnover for breaching EU antitrust rules.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.