“The probe, which the US internet company is believed to have been notified about two weeks ago, will examine both whether it penalises potential competitors in its search rankings, and whether it uses its massive share of the European search advertising market to keep some advertising prices artificially high,” Waters reports.
“Google has faced antitrust reviews on both sides of the Atlantic before,” Waters reports. “However, no government agency had previously started an official enquiry into its search and search-advertising services, despite indications from officials in both Brussels and Washington that such a review might become necessary.”
Waters reports, “According to Google, Brussels’ interest has been sparked by three complaints, one of them from rival Microsoft… The complaint from Ciao, now part of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, centres on Google’s advertising system [regarding] its practice of setting minimum bid levels… Google said that Brussels was also looking into its search rankings. It said the complaints had come from Foundem, a UK price comparison service, and ejustice.fr, a French legal search engine, both of which had complained that they had been relegated to an unfairly low place in Google’s search rankings.”
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