EC exec says Google antitrust probe continues

Anticompetition official said he's investigating allegations by Google rivals 'very carefully'

Europe's top antitrust official said Wednesday that his office is continuing to investigate antitrust concerns about Google Inc.

During a speech about digital media today in London, Joaquin Almunia, a vice president of the European Commission responsible for competition policy, did not specifically name Google, but did cite a search engine that holds 95% of market share in Europe. Google is by far the most widely used search engine in Europe -- and around the globe.

Yahoo is a distant second in Europe with a market share that normally ranges from single digits into the teens.

"Dominance on the Internet is difficult to establish," Almunia said, according to a transcript of the speech. "On the internet, information travels fast and users may be very reactive. If results on a search engine, for instance, are being manipulated, it may well make a difference on the market if consumers know about it. But is transparency enough?"

Almunia added that, as has been widely reported since early this year, his office is in the midst of investigating allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the search business. Google has confirmed that it is a target of the probe.

"The work is at an early stage, but given the importance of search to a competitive online marketplace, I am looking at the allegations very carefully," he said.

A Google spokesman said the company is aware of the ongoing inquiry and has been cooperating with the commission.

"As Commissioner Almunia has indicated, the commission's inquiry is at an early, fact-finding stage," the spokesman said in a statement emailed to Computerworld. "We're working with the commissioner and his team to answer their questions, including how Google's search ranking works to produce the most relevant and useful search results for users. We're very confident that our business operates in the interests of both users and partners, as well as within European competition law."

Last February, Google revealed in a blog post that the EU had begun investigating the company for possible anticompetitive behavior following complaints filed against it by three competitors.

Julia Holtz, Google's top antitrust lawyer, claimed in the post that the EC investigation was triggered by complaints filed by Foundem, a U.K. price comparison site, eJustice.fr, a French legal search engine, and Ciao, a German search site that had been acquired by Microsoft Corp.

Analysts noted in February that Microsoft would likely benefit if the Google investigation grows into a multipronged, messy case.

Tags Gov't Legislation/Regulationeuropean commissionregulationinternetgovernmentInternet SearchGovernment/IndustriesGov't Legislationsearch enginesYahooGoogle

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Computerworld Staff

Computerworld (US)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?