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Google Now Facing Multiple Antitrust Investigations of Search Engine Business

Google Now Facing Multiple Antitrust Investigations of Search Engine Business

Both the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will now investigate accusations that Google used its global dominance to claim an unfair advantage over its competitors.

French search engine 1PlusV is the latest rival company to sue Google, claiming 295m Euros (£264m) in damages; the largest claim the company has faced in Europe to date.

In a press conference, 1Plus V stated that "Google employed a number of anti-competitive practices and unethical behaviour over a period of four years to cripple 1plusV's ability to generate business and advertising".

Google is alleged to have carried this out is by preventing 1PlusV from developing its own ‘specialised’ vertical search engines. The French outfit claims that no less than 30 of their vertical search engines had been “black-listed” by Google between 2007 and 2010, and while some had since been indexed, 1PlusV had lost sizable revenue as a result.

"Our actions benefit not just one company, but all players in the booming vertical search business," said 1plusV founder Bruno Guillard.

Several high profile companies have recently taken similar actions against Google, including Microsoft and Expedia, who along with 1PlusV logged an original complaint with the European Commission in February 2010. These companies assert that Google uses its worldwide search engine dominance to improperly promote its own sites and services, such as mapping, shopping and travel facilities.

Microsoft had claimed that Google had illegally impeded them in a number of ways which included limiting the ability of rival search engine Microsoft Bing to index web content.

Now the Financial Times has stated that attorney generals in California, New York and Ohio have also launched investigations in Google’s practices.
These actions are just latest to be taken against the search engine powerhouse.

In April of this year, Google settled charges with an American group who claimed that Google had violated its privacy policy by automatically enrolling all g-mail users in a social network called Buzz.

Google accrued advertising revenues of $8.3bn in the first quarter of 2011. Should they be found guilty of breaching EU rulings they can be fined up to 10% of their global turnover.

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