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EU Asks Google About Anti-competitve Allegations

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 4 comments

The EU has received complaints from U.S. search giant, Google, and could launch an anti-trust investigation into the company.

Google today revealed that it has been contacted by the European Commission which says it has received three complaints about Google, one each from Foundem, a UK price comparison site, ejustice.fr, a French legal search engine, and Microsoft's Ciao! from Bing.

Google's Senior Competition Counsel, Julia Holtz today blogged about the complaints and pointing out that that Foundem is a member of an organisation called ICOMP which is funded partly by Microsoft. Foundem claims argues that Google's algorithms demote their site in our results because they are a vertical search engine and so a direct competitor to Google. Holtz says ejustice.fr's complaint "seems to echo these concerns."

Regarding Ciao!, Google says they were a long-time AdSense partner. In fact, according to Holtz, Google and Ciao! enjoyed a good relationship until the company was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.  "We started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions. They initially took their case to the German competition authority, but it now has been transferred to Brussels," said Holtz.

Holtz maintains that Google has done nothing wrong and says, "Our search is not perfect, but it's a very hard computer science problem to crack."

At the time of writing, the EU had yet to announce any formal investigation.

"The commission has not opened a formal investigation for the time being," the EU said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. "As is usual when the commission receives complaints, it informed Google earlier this month and asked the company to comment on the allegations."

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  • 1 Hide
    Clintonio , 25 February 2010 07:54
    Quote:
    The EU has received complaints from U.S. search giant, Google, and could launch an anti-trust investigation into the company.


    from? You mean "about" right? I don't think Google complained about it's own practices somehow...
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 25 February 2010 14:36
    You can't complain that your site doesn't appear on somebody elses. Period. They provide a service, and nowhere does it say that they include every site.

    Now, your site IS on Google, and you're complaining that it's not ranked high enough?

    Shut up.
  • 0 Hide
    swamprat , 25 February 2010 19:41
    From the sound of it the reason to knock things down in the search order might be a valid one (e.g. results for that site are more likely to be showing more links to what was searched for rather than what was actually searched for).
    In principle though, they could discriminate anti-competitively (e.g. if you pay to use Bing placed adverts then Google would not show you as often / high)so it's good that people are prepared to check. Hopefully there's nothing wrong and the checking will show that.
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    may1 , 26 February 2010 08:18
    um.... It's most likely that it's because Im not bright enough to understand the issues here.... How has google behaved anti-competitively? It's not like the case with Microsoft's IE integration in the OS, or Intel's anti-competitive behaviour, is it???