It seems as if only the very best are being investigated for antitrust practices theses days. Hot on the heels of an investigation beginning into Apple in the US last May, it now appears that the European Commission will begin an official investigation into Google.
In a statement, an European Union executive said:“The European Commission has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google has abused a dominant position in online search.”
The EU initially began looking into allegations that Google had used its market dominance to deliberately demote the results of other search engines last February. This followed complaints from three of these search engines. Foundem, a British price comparison site, and ejustice.fr, a French legal search engine, complained that Google had deliberately demoted search results for their websites in its rankings. A third company, Ciao!, based in Germany and owned by Microsoft’s Bing!, complained about the way Google sold adverts.
The Commission added in a statement that it was looking into complaints from rivals of the search giant about “unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services.”
Google has denied all the allegations stating: “Since we started Google we have worked hard to do the right thing by our users and our industry — ensuring that ads are always clearly marked, making it easy for users and advertisers to take their data with them when they switch services, and investing heavily in open source projects.”
If found guilty Google could be fined up to 10pc of its £15bn annual revenues. However this size payout is unlikely considering the largest ever payout was £930million against Intel in 2009.