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Antitrust inquiry launched.

The Times reports that Google is being asked by the European Union in a preliminary inquiry about the way it search function works. The preliminary inquiry was launched after a number of online services from the UK, France and Germany complained.

“The European Commission has written to Google to find out how its search functions work, following allegations from the UK price comparison site Foundem, an online French guide to legal services, and the Germany-based shopping portal Ciao, owned by Microsoft”

The inquiry focuses on the added services Google now provides as it controls 90 percent of the search market in the UK – and offers its own price comparison and video services when users type in search queries.

Shivan Raff of Foundem told Radio 4:

“As a user, you can go and you can put in any product query that you want and you will be able to see for yourself that they are inserting their own services.

“What I would also say is that Google’s services are not clearly labelled as such. Google is not clearly flagging that they are inserting their own services, but they are there clear to see.”

The EU can fine Google a maximum of 10% of its annual turnover, last year it fined Intel a record 1.06 billion Euro after AMD complained about Intel’s underhand tactics in the x86 processor market.

Source: The Times

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Stuart Davidson

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