Google may soon find it necessary to send another plane full of lawyers across the Atlantic. European regulators have decided to take a closer look at the company’s business practices in response to three separate antitrust complaints.
Foundem, a price comparison site based in the UK, and eJustice, a French legal search engine, claim Google’s hit them with search penalties because they compete with the search giant. Ciao! from Bing, meanwhile, is upset about AdSense terms and conditions.
These complaints might constitute grounds for a formal antitrust investigation. Google doesn’t appear too concerned, though. On the European Public Policy Blog, Julia Holtz, the company’s senior competition counsel, wrote, "Though each case raises slightly different issues, the question they ultimately pose is whether Google is doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners. This is not the case."
She then continued, "We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users’ interests first and to compete fair and square in the market. We believe our business practices reflect those commitments."
Holtz also hinted that a certain rival of Google’s might be behind much of this. Ciao! from Bing is owned by Microsoft, after all, and Foundem belongs to an organization (the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace) that’s sponsored by Microsoft.
Anyway, no targets or deadlines have been set with regards to when the European Commission will come to some conclusion.