Alphabet’s Google said Sunday it had removed a number of browser extensions from the online conglomerate IAC / InterActive for “policy violations” and was reviewing “enforcement options.”
“We are still in discussions with IAC about Chrome Web Store policies and have already removed some of their extensions for violating our policies,” a Google spokesman said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
“We are reviewing the remaining enhancements and our enforcement options and have not made a decision regarding IAC status in the business,” the statement added.
The Wall Street Journal reported Google had previously decided whether IAC should be subject to severe penalties for “misleading marketing practices”.
The report added that Google found that IAC had misled users about its browser extensions, and that the Alphabet unit could even ban these products from their Chrome browser.
In the statement to Reuters, the Google spokesman did not specify what precise guidelines he believed the IAC was violating, and did not mention what specific options he was considering.
An IAC spokeswoman denied that the extensions violated Google guidelines. “Google took hundreds of millions of dollars from us to promote and sell these products on the Chrome Store,” she told Reuters in an email.
“There’s nothing new here. Google has used its position to reduce our browser business to the last little corner of the internet that it is now trying to suppress,” the statement added.
Google’s investigators found that IAC’s browser extensions often promise features they don’t provide and drive users to additional ads, the WSJ reported, citing sources and documents.
Google has not yet responded to its Chrome trust and security team’s internal recommendation regarding IAC, in part because the two are rivals in some categories and because Google executives fear penalties could be viewed as anti-competitive, the newspaper reported .
The IAC spokeswoman said Google had approved its extensions to the Chrome Store for years under the companies’ partnership agreement.
“Google has significant control over what we do with these products,” she said in the statement.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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