French back Google monopoly complaint

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A French vertical search specialist has filed a fresh complaint against Google alleging the search and advertising behemoth is abusing its dominant position.

1plusV, the company behind ejustice.fr and other search sites, filed a complaint along with UK shopping comparison site Foundem and Ciao - a German shopping site backed by Microsoft. The companies complained that Google was unfairly tweaking search results in order to favour its own services and sites.

The company has filed a fresh complaint to the European Commission. It alleges Google is tying search terms and its AdWords service in an anti-competitive fashion.

In a statement given to Bloomberg the company said: “1PlusV accuses Google of pursuing a strategy of foreclosure against vertical search engines.”

The company said that Google's search appeared to favour Google Books results.

1plusV also claims that Google took retalitory action against other sites run by the company after it filed its original complaint. The company said Google's efforts to re-list its sites properly were erratic, the FT reports.

The Commission is currently questioning web publishers, advertisers and vertical search companies. It asks whether they believe Google's "natural search ranking algorithm" penalises the position of certain services compared to Google's own.

Google faces calls for a similar investigation in the US from the Department of Justice.

The DOJ is already investigating Google's attempted takeover of flight data provider ITA Software.

Should the Commission rule against Google it can levy fines of up to ten per cent of the company's European turnover. ®

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