Google to pay $2.5 million to settle suit over anti-piracy policy

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Google is poised to pay a $2 million settlement to settle an antitrust lawsuit accusing the company of using deceptive tactics to thwart rivals in e-commerce.

The Federal Trade Commission, which brought the case, announced Wednesday that it plans to settle the suit by offering Google $2,750 per unit for each sale of Google Products (GPPs).

Google already paid $5 million, but was unable to agree to pay the full amount until Tuesday, when it settled.

The FTC wants the Google antitrust suit to be a class action, so the price for the settlement is less than the initial settlement.

The settlement comes on top of a yearlong investigation into Google’s anticompetitive practices, which has resulted in nearly $30 billion in fines and settlements across the internet.

The case concerns GPPs, a way for advertisers to sell Google products in a form that the search giant deems as free.

It involves websites that are part of the Google shopping portal.

The FTC, in June 2018, accused the search company of trying to artificially inflate its share of the US online shopping market by offering GPP sellers exclusive, ad-free access to Google products, without giving competitors the same level of access.

This practice was also allegedly aimed at using GPP sites to increase the number of Google products sold on its search engine.

Google was allegedly offering GPs access to a number of free Google services, such as Search Engine Optimization, Search Results, and Search Console, but never to the same degree.

Instead, the FTC alleged, GPP seller sites were able to sell ads to Google’s own products, such it was possible for Google to charge users to download and install third-party software that could allow the user to access certain parts of Google’s search engine that it wasn’t allowed to.

The agreement with the FTC sets the settlement at $2-million per GPP sale.

But the full settlement amount, if it is approved by the court, could range from as much as $25 million to as much $50 million.

Google’s settlement with the commission was originally reported as $7.5 billion in the same week.

The US government has been investigating Google for years over the company’s use of GPP platforms to promote its search algorithm.

Google is currently under a federal investigation by the US Department of Justice over allegations that it violated antitrust laws in 2015 by engaging in the practice of using its Google search engine to artificially boost the number and cost of search results by making it easier for advertisers who were not participating in the market to access the search engine through GPP.

A former Google executive has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate antitrust laws and is serving a life sentence.


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