EU Commission to probe GoogleBy Hanleigh Daniels 24 February 2010 | Categories: news
Google lawyers are a lot busier these days with the pending settlement ruling on Google Books and the Electronic Privacy Information Centre’s complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission about Google Buzz. Now the European Union’s (EU) Commission is also on Google's case, launching a preliminary anti-trust probe into Google’s business practices.
The EU Commission started the initial investigation after three IT companies logged complaints against Google. “The European Commission has notified us that it has received complaints from three companies: a UK price comparison site, Foundem, a French legal search engine called ejustice.fr, and Microsoft’s Ciao! from Bing,” a post by Google’s senior competition counsel Julia Holtz read. All three of the companies’ complaints concern Google’s seemingly unfair ranking of their sites, so that they obtain lower positions on Google’s search engine results pages.
Google in response, deems it significant to highlight Microsoft’s connection with the companies: “…Foundem - a member of an organisation called ICOMP which is funded partly by Microsoft” and then later, “…they [Ciao!] were a long-time AdSense partner of Google’s, with whom we always had a good relationship. However, after Microsoft acquired Ciao! in 2008 (renaming it Ciao! from Bing) we started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions.”
“While we will be providing feedback and additional information on these complaints, we are confident that our business operates in the interests of users and partners, as well as in line with European competition law,” Holtz stated.
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