Europe accuses Google of favoring its own services2015-04-16 09:52 by Daniela
The European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has formally accused Google of abusing its position as the leading search engine by favoring its own Shopping service, after a separate five-year investigation. According to the EU Competition Commission, Google is violating European antitrust laws by favoring its search results over those from competitors.
"If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe," said Ms. Vestager, referring to Google's search practices.
The main reason for the antitrust complaint against Google Inc. is its alleged practice of highlighting its own shopping services in response to search queries, ahead of links to similar services run by rivals. That may artificially divert traffic from rival comparison shopping services and thus decrease their ability to compete.
The European Commission has issued a set of formal charges (a Statement of Objections) that it sent to Google. The company has 10 weeks to respond. Meanwhile, investigations into Google's business practices in other areas would continue.
Google's position as the maker of Android, the most popular software operating system for smartphones, will also be under close observation. The regulators want to be sure that the company doesn't use it to favor other Google apps and services.
"Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many people's daily lives and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompetitive constraints imposed by any company," Ms. Vestager said.
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