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EU announces antitrust probe into Google

Google received the news on Tuesday that it was to be the subject of an antitrust probe by European Union competition watchdogs. The Commission intends to investigate whether the internet giant abused its dominant position in the online search market.

“The European Commission has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google Inc. has abused a dominant position in online search,” Brussels watchdogs said in a statement.

The action “follows complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services.”

According to the commission, rivals claim that Google was “allegedly lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competing services which are specialised in providing users with specific online content such as price comparisons.”

Similarly, the company stands accused of imposing “exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their web sites, as well as on computer and software vendors.”

Finally, Brussels wants to look into “suspected restrictions on the portability of online advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms.” – AFP