MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (
) -- Say goodbye to
(GOOG - Get Report)
A lack of growth, weak consumer spending,
softer-than-expected advertising "click-through" rates
and now the rise of regulatory scrutiny have helped put Google shares in a funk.
On Wednesday, adding to the woes in Google's search ad business, European regulators started to look at charges that the search giant may be treating competitors unfairly.
And though the probe is merely an informal review by the E.U., some analysts say it's just the beginning of an era for Google that is very much akin to the persistent regulatory slaparound
(MSFT - Get Report)
has earned over the past two decades.
"Due to Google's dominating position in search, the regulatory scrutiny will likely surface more often," Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal wrote in a research note Wednesday.
Google said the "scrutiny goes with the territory" and was cooperating with the E.U. Google added on its blog that it was "confident that our business operates in the interests of users and partners, as well as in line with European competition law."
The brush with the law highlights Google's continuing shift from its days as a rapidly growing and beloved Internet mastery tool to a potential search monopolist that wields too much power.
Investors aren't particularly enamored with these types of transitions.
Tech giants like Microsoft and
(INTC - Get Report)
-- reforming monopolists in their own rights -- have offered investors very little in returns after achieving market dominance. The stock performance for Microsoft and Intel has been flat for most of the past decade.