EU has Google in its searchlights

Google's search engines are facing an anti-trust investigation by the European Commission. As signs of maturity go, that's like being handed a pair of slippers and lighting a pipe...

by Dave Waller

The EU is investigating the dotcom wunderkind-turned-technology giant for its dominant position in search and advertising. Which is effectively the signal for any tech company to say it’s officially made it as representative of the establishment.

The investigation is hardly a surprise. Rivals have long been complaining how Google has been giving its own services ‘preferential placement’ within its listings, and alleging that Google ‘lowers the ranking’ of the search results of some services, such as price comparison websites, to ‘shut out competing services’.

We can’t really say we’re surprised that Google’s dominance should attract attention. It has over 90% of the search market in the UK, for example. The complainants snipe that Google imposes ‘exclusivity obligations’ on its advertising partners, preventing them from placing ‘certain types of competing ads on their web sites’. Which, if true, are hardly fitting methods for a company that began life making a huge play against doing ‘evil’.

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