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EU waves antitrust claims in Google's face, snarls 'You want some?'

Favours its own shopping service and restricts third-party websites, claims commish

By Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016

EU antitrust regulators have accused Google of preventing rivals from competing in online advertising and search, deepening its existing probe into anti-competition allegations against the ad-flinger.

The antitrust charges are the latest effort to clamp down on the advertising biz, following existing investigations claiming its search results favour Google's own shopping service over its rivals.

The EU Commission said it has sent two "statements of objections" to Google.

It claims the company has "abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages; and of "artificially restricting the possibility of third party websites to display search advertisements from Google's competitors."

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, said today the latest allegations have "further strengthened" its case that Google has "unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages."

Yesterday the commission gave Google a six-week extension to respond to separate antitrust allegations against its mobile operating system Android. The commission alleges Google "abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators."

Of the latest charges, Vestager said: "It means consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation."

A spokeswoman from Google said: "We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We’ll examine the Commission’s renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks." ®

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