The European Commission is widening its investigation into Google with new charges that the company’s comparison shopping and online ad platforms violate anti-trust laws.
In yet anonther fresh investigation, launched in April, the EC now alleges that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping service in search results; it also artificially restricted the ability of third-party websites to display search ads from Google’s competitors.
While Google has developed many products, this does not give it the right to deny other companies wanting to compete and innovate, said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
“Today we have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search results pages. It means consumers may not see the most relevant results in their search queries,” she said.
The Commission also has “raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third-party websites”, Vestager said.
Google and parnet firm Alphabet have 10 weeks to respond to the charges.
The company is no stranger to Brussels threats; the Commission first launched an anti-trust probe of its search business in 2010, although it has yet to reach a conclusion. Google has controlled about 80% of the market for search advertising in the European Economic Area over the past 10 years, according to the Commission.
However, it faces fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue and could be forced to change its business model.
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