Google faces anti-monopoly probe by European Commission

Google is facing a preliminary anti-monopoly probe by the European Commission into its dominant position in online browsing and digital advertising following allegations that it demotes competing websites to the lower echelons of customers’ search results. The Silicon Valley internet company revealed today that the commission has sent out formal questionnaires seeking information about complaints from three firms – the British price comparison site Foundem, a French legal search engine called eJustice and a shopping site, Ciao, which is owned by Microsoft. The complaints centre on the way in which Google’s search results are compiled and on the terms and conditions the company attaches to deals with advertisers. Although the commission’s investigation is only at a tentative stage, the fact that Brussels is taking the issue seriously is likely to set off alarm bells at Google. Google handles 80 percent of European web searches, according to research firm ComScore, compared to 65 percent in the US. Google is likely to characterise the issue as an attack partly orchestrated by Microsoft, which recently merged its search business with Yahoo’s in an effort to challenge Google’s comfortable market lead

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/24/google-monopoly-probe-european-commission

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