Google Search and the European Comission sets Anti Trust Sights....

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The Western european Commission has informed Google that it received grouses from 3 companies about its search ranking practices. The firms are a UK price comparison site, Foundem, a French legal search site,, and Microsoft's ( Naz : MSFT ) Ciao! From Bing. Foundem also raised a complaint with the FCC, referencing issues over "search neutrality." Though each is marginally different, all the grumbles center on the way in which the firms show up in search rankings, Julia Holtz, senior competition counsel expounded in a post on Google's Western european government policy Blog. The subtext is whether Google's ranking system cuts off competition, she claimed, but insisted that isn't the case. The EU Commission has opened a preliminary investigation, the earliest stage of the complaint process, which concentrates on fact-finding. The authorities could make a decision not to chase the matter any farther, or they could launch a formal investigation if they decide there's some validity to the grouses. Attention on Google Even though users have other search options open to them and Google is pro-competitive, there's a good chance this could end up as something significant in Europe, Ryan Radia, a researcher with the Competitive Establishment Institute, told the E-Commerce Times.

"Based on the Western european Commission's history of competition policy, inquiries and interventions in the market, it wouldn't be surprising if they were to launch a formal investigation later this year," he claimed.

Such a move would prove the EU Commission's antitrust policies are driven by forces aside from pure competition policies, declared Radia. "I can't think of another industry where purchasers can go to rivals with only 1 click." The FCC investigation isn't sure to go anywhere, in his perspective, as the agency has engaged in little debate on this subject. The focus will be on Google in Europe, concluded Boston Varsity business professor N. Venkatraman. "We saw some hint of that at the Mobile World Congress, with the Vodafone ( NYSE : VOD ) Head honcho not being too pleased with the strong position that Google has in desktop search and the potential dominance that they may have in mobile search," he informed the E-Commerce Times.

As Google's Chrome OS gains traction, and as Android gains share against Nokia ( NYSE : NOK ) and Edge , Google will draw enlarging scrutiny in Europe, Venkatraman expected. "President Sarkozy has even advised that Google should pay tax in France where the clicks originate," he noted. "I see the eye of Brussels shifting away from Microsoft towards Google in the approaching years.".

From an S.E.O point of view, the corporations do not have a legitimized meat, opined Evan Bailyn, president of First Page Sage. "They are right to suspect that Google is not invariably totally fair in the way it calibrates its algorithms," he said to the E-Commerce Times, "but Google does not have a requirement to be fair. So long as they aren't in particular or by hand punishing individual firms -- which Google has stated that it would never do -- Google is acting inside its rights." Google modified its algorithms latterly, Bailyn mentioned which it often does, and many firms saw their rankings decline.

Maybe the moaning corporations were influenced by that change and thought that it was targeting them, he speculated. One or two years gone, as an example, a supposed Google bomb made George W. Bush's government net page the top search result for the phrase "miserable failure." Google defused the bomb, but "even then, they used algorithms to change the rankings," Bailyn recalled. Google won't curve from this policy, in his perspective, because that would essentially enfeeble and destabilize its search-advertising based business structure.

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