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EU Launches Antitrust Probe into Google Search

Yesterday, the EC released a statement confirming that Google is currently under investigation following accusations from competitors that it was ranking them unfairly in search results and affording its own services preferential treatment.

"The European Commission has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google Inc. has abused a dominant position in online search, in violation of European Union rules (Article 102 TFEU)," the Commission's statement reads.

"The opening of formal proceedings 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."

The EC goes on to say that though they are opening an investigation into Google, it does not mean they have proof of the search giant's wrongdoing. However, it does seem as though the EC has plenty to busy itself with in the probe. The EC is also looking into Google's actions in the ad market.

"The Commission's probe will additionally focus on allegations that Google imposes 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, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools," said the Commission.

"Finally, it will investigate suspected restrictions on the portability of online advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms."

The BBC reports that Google has denied the allegations made by competitors but said it would cooperate with the EC to "address any concerns."

Previous European Commission investigations have resulted in fines for both Intel and Microsoft. The former was forced to pay $1.45 billion when the Commission ruled that it had engaged in anticompetitive business practices, shutting AMD out of the market. Microsoft has come to blows with the EU several times, resulting in multi-million dollar fines for abusing its dominant position in the market.

Source: Europa (EC PR), BBC, Daily Tech