ALPHABET-OWNED search company Google could be about to face its third antitrust battle in Europe after the firm's advertising service came under the critical eye of the European Commission.
Google is already in the EC's bad books. The EC has already levelled charges against the search firm's Google Shopping service, which it claims harms online competition, and the Android mobile operating system, saying that Google abuses the firm's dominant position in the mobile operating system market by pre-installing its own services and apps on Android devices.
Now it's the turn of Google's AdWords and AdSense services, according to 'sources close to the matter', which reportedly told Agence France-Presse that the EC could launch a full-on probe into Google's advertising business as early as August.
European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has reportedly asked Google's rivals to provide information related to search advertising with the tech giant, suggesting that the EC could be poised to hit Google with new antitrust charges.
Google's AdWords and AdSense terms and conditions have been on the EC’s radar since 2010, after rivals complained about the firm's alleged unfair advertising exclusivity clauses and restrictions.
The EC accused Google at the time of deliberately lowering the ranking of unpaid search results relating to competing services, and of giving preferential placement to the results of its own search services in order to shut out or severely restrict competing services.
The EC has refused to comment on the latest reports, and Google has yet to say anything relating to the anti-competition charges.
Google said in 2010, when the company found itself in a similar situation in Europe, that the firm competes fairly with Amazon and eBay for retail search enquiries, and that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were becoming an increasingly important source of sharing links. µ
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