European Union announes antitrust probe on Google

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Google HandcuffsMicrosoft and Intel had face them. Now it’s Google’s turn. The search engine will be investigated by the European Union for antitrust violations, with the European Commission accusing that Google had abused its dominant position in the search engine market.

The matter, according to the European Commission, is “a matter of priority”.

“The Commission will investigate whether Google has abused a dominant market position in online search by 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,” the Commission said.

This followed complaints made by Foundem, a British price comparison site, and ejustice.fr, a French legal search engine, to the Commission.

It will also probe its online advertising platform after allegations were made that the company sets exclusivity obligations on advertisers which prevents them placing certain types of competing ads not only on their websites, but also on software vendors, in order to shut out any competition.

The move to conduct such a move would mean that the European Union is taking a tougher stance on monopolistic behaviours by others.The fact that Google is being investigated could spark similar probes into Google, and could also spark the European Union examining other companies, such as Apple who hold a massive stake in the digital downloads market with iTunes, to see if they are violating antitrust laws in Europe.