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EU may probe Google's non-search services

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Google's European HQ in Dublin. The EU is considering expanding its probe into the internet firm

Google's European HQ in Dublin. The EU is considering expanding its probe into the internet firm

Photocall Ireland

Google's European HQ in Dublin. The EU is considering expanding its probe into the internet firm

European competition authorities may widen an examination of Google to look at non-search services following several complaints, a senior official said yesterday.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that broadening a probe that has already been running for four years could mean the Google case could end up a bigger case than a decade long EC probe into Microsoft, where the US company was hit with more than €2.2bn in fines.

"We have received complaints on the possible diversion of internet traffic towards Google services which are not search services, so this is a possible third investigation concerning Google," Mr Almunia told a European Parliament hearing.

A Google spokesman said it will continue to "work with the European Commission to resolve their concerns".

Mr Almunia is scheduled to leave office by the end of October and it was not clear if he would open a case or leave it to his successor Margrethe Vestager.

In June, he said companies including European publishers, a telecoms operator, an association of picture industries and photo libraries as well as an advertising platform had complained about Google leveraging its dominance to promote its social network Google+ and its online video website YouTube. (Reuters)

Irish Independent