Google faces nine antitrust complaints in EU

Google rivals are tightening the thumbscrews on the search engine outfit in the EU and have laid nine antitrust complaints with regulators.

According to Reuters, there are nine complaints being investigated when there had been four before.

Fresh complaints have widened the EU watchdog’s ongoing probe and put Google under the sort of pressure that Microsoft was under a few years back.

Two new complaints come from small companies, but three cases came from national regulators.

The Commission can fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching EU rules. It has collected billion-euro penalties from Microsoft and Intel for anticompetitive behaviour.

Simon Holmes, head of EU and competition law at law firm SJ Berwin, was quoted by Reuters as saying that Google had little to worry about at this point.

The increased number of complaints underscores Google’s dominant position, but there is nothing wrong with being at the top.

A large number of complaints doesn’t increase the likelihood of infringements. It means there are things that people want to be investigated, Holmes pointed out.

The Commission opened an investigation into Google last year following allegations by three small companies that Google demoted their sites in Web search engines because they were rivals.

Microsoft claimed that Google systematically blocked Internet search competition and complained to the EU.

These complaints are not unique to Europe. The US Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Google following accusations that it abused its market dominance. Apparently the US Senate’s antitrust panel start chatting about Google on September 21.