Google SA Moves to Allay Anti-competitive Concerns

Google SA Moves to Allay Anti-competitive Concerns
Photo: w.media 13.11.2023 632

Director of Google South Africa noted in an interview with ITWeb TV that the company has begun complying with the antitrust regulator's requirements.

Search engine giant Google has tweaked its product line-up in South Africa, in accordance with the recommendations made by the Competition Commission (CompCom) to address the company’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour.

This is according to Dr Alistair Mokoena, country director of Google South Africa, speaking during an interview with ITWeb TV.

In July, the CompCom found the dominance and business models of tech giants such as Google distort platform competition, as small and new platforms struggle for visibility and customer acquisition.

The primary objective of the inquiry was to prevent technology platforms from disadvantaging small businesses, and provide them with a fair chance to succeed and grow. 

In its Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry report, the competition watchdog sought to address this distortion and recommended several remedial actions.

According to Mokoena, Google is happy with the outcome of the inquiry, and has undertaken several product adjustments. In particular, the company has created a special unit (carousel) on the search results page to ensure the visibility of small businesses that do not have large marketing or advertising budgets.

In the report, the competition watchdog said on organic results, the internet search giant must introduce a new platform sites unit (or carousel) to display smaller South African platforms relevant to the search (eg, travel platforms in a travel search) free of charge, and augment organic results with a content-rich display.

On paid results, the CompCom said Google must provide R180 million in advertising credits for small platforms to use in customer acquisition, along with free training to optimise advertising campaigns.

It stated that Google must also provide a further R150 million in training, product support and other measures for SME and black-owned online firms to offset the competitive disadvantages they experience on Google Search.

Mokoena said Google has created a fund in South Africa to stimulate economic growth in the SMME sector. 

“We’ve also agreed to create a fund to provide product credits so that small businesses are able to tap into Google Cloud, into Search, into Workspace, into all these platforms and ads. There is a lot we have agreed to implement with the Competition Commission. It’s been an interesting journey of understanding what matters to regulators and how we can use technology to respond to that,”

Mokoena said.

Source: ItWeb

digital markets  South Africa 

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