EU: Vestager warns against using algorithms for price collusion

Europe’s antitrust chief warned companies against using algorithms to block rivals or form cartels, saying she may slap heftier fines on them if they use such software to commit wrongdoing.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is poised to fine US 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 organised 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 companies.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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