TripAdvisor submits antitrust complaint about Google to EU

The list of complainants now reaches 14, as the European Commission feels the industry pressure to initiate a formal antitrust investigation into Google.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Google is facing further troubles in Europe after TripAdvisor filed an antitrust complaint with the regulators, adding more pressure on Europe's part to intervene in the search giant's dominant position in the search market.

The case centers on Google allegedly 'cooking' its search results, and stifling innovation and competing services through its alleged practices.

This comes only a week after Expedia filed a complaint with the Commission, reports Bloomberg, racking up the number of complaints to about a dozen other smaller companies, making the Commission's position almost untenable with an antitrust investigation inevitable.


The Commission said last week it is close to deciding whether it will launch a formal antitrust investigation into Google, but said that it will likely come "after Easter".

The online travel company said: "We hope that the commission takes prompt corrective action to ensure a healthy and competitive online environment that will foster innovation across the Internet," but declined to explain specifically why it had submitted a complaint of its own.

Alongside Europe's investigation, U.S. regulators are looking into Google's business practices.

Google said in a statement that it continues to work with the Commission to explain how its business works since the initial probe began in November 2010. The main complaints are that Google artificially lowered rankings whilst boosting its own services, while 'cooking' search results to favour its services over its competitors.

"We haven’t seen this complaint yet, but will continue to discuss any concerns with the Commission, knowing that there’s always room for improvement," the search giant said.

Google came under fire last month after European data protection officials warned that its new privacy policy could breach European law. Google's new privacy policy, which went live on March 1, combined over 70 different policies across its services into one, allowing data to flow from one service to another.

If an antitrust investigation opens and Google is found in breach of European law, it could be fined up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover, thought to be in the region of $3--4 billion (€2.3--3bn).

Image source: Flickr.


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