updated 09:30 am EST, Tue November 30, 2010
EU to check claims Google abusing dominance
The European Commission today said it would investigate Google following antitrust allegations. Officials would check whether it abused a "dominant market position" in both search and in ads. The company has been accused by French legal site ejustice.fr, UK price site Foundem.co.uk and Microsoft-owned Ciao of deliberately lowering their search rankings as competitors.
The EU agency would also look into allegedly anti-competitive practices that would prevent advertising rivals not only on websites but computers and apps. Google may have limited the ability to export ad information as well, making it difficult to switch advertisers.
Google isn't known to have responded to the accusations.
A determination against Google could have significant ramifications not just for web search but also for mobile, including the still young mobile ad business. Google's ownership of AdMob has given it the largest stake in mobile ads and, theoretically, could let it exclude ads for non-Android phones or other products if it felt they were threats.
Regardless, Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing the EU investigation target Google as it would potentially improve the standing of Bing. Despite billions of dollars in investment and marketing, Bing still has just a fraction of the traffic of Google, even after a partnership with Yahoo.