EU Asks Google About Anti-competitve Allegations
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."