EU slaps more antitrust charges on Google

Lynsey Barber
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Margrethe Vestager has cracked the whip on Google investigations (Source: Getty)

The EU's move against US tech companies when it comes to competition has continued today as the Commission accused Google of further breaches of anti-trust laws.

Two further charges have been set out against the search giant by competition chief Margrethe Vestager and claim Google abused its dominant position by "systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages" and by "artificially restricting the possibility of third party websites to display search advertisements from Google's competitors".

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"Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn't give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate," said Vestager in a statement on Thursday morning.

"Today, we have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages. 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."

Brussels originally filed formal charges - known as a Statement of Objections - against Google in relation to shopping search results last year. The latest charges are in addition to the original filing and follow Google's response last September.

Google now has time to respond to the further charges.

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Vestager also announced charges against Google in a separate investigation into Android, accusing the company of favouring its own search on the mobile operating system, something which Google denies. The competition commission yesterday gave Google an additional six weeks to officially respond to the Android claims. It had originally been given until 27 July.

Google could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of its profits in each case, making any potential fine the largest in history handed out by Europe in an antitrust case.

Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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