Europe Examines Google Antitrust Complaints

     (CN) – The European Commission is “examining” three complaints against Google in what could be the beginnings of an antitrust investigation of the U.S. search giant, the commission announced Wednesday.




     Google responded to the complaints in blog post on Tuesday:
     “Though each case raises slightly different issues, the question they ultimately pose is whether Google is doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners. This is not the case.”
     According to Google, the U.K. price-comparison site Foundem and a French legal search engine called ejustice.fr have complained that Google ranking algorithms demote their sites because they’re vertical search engines, and thus Google’s direct competitors.
     “Our algorithms aim to rank first what people are most likely to find useful and we have nothing against vertical search sites – indeed many vertical search engines like Moneysupermarket.com, Opodo and Expedia typically rank high in Google’s results,” the response states.
     Google says the third complaint, filed by Microsoft’s Ciao! from Bing, takes aim at Google’s terms and conditions. Google says it had a “good relationship” with the former AdSense partner until Microsoft bought the search engine in 2008, after which Google “started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions.”
     “We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users’ interests first and to compete fair and square in the market,” Google’s response states. “We believe our business practices reflect those commitments.”
     The European Commission has not opened a formal investigation “for the time being” and gave no further details about the complaints.

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