EU Alleges Google's Abuses of Power Hurt Consumers, Innovation

Drawing upon a nearly five-year probe, regulators filed a complaint alleging that Google has been improperly favoring its own shopping comparison service in its own search results.
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The European Union's escalating legal attack on Google (GOOG) is likely to ignite a debate about whether the Internet search leader makes life more convenient for consumers or abuses its power to squeeze out rivals who might have something better to offer. The contrasting views of Google's business practices came into sharper focus Wednesday after Europe's antitrust regulators challenged the Mountain View, California, company on two different fronts. Drawing upon a nearly five-year probe, the regulators filed a complaint alleging that Google has been improperly favoring its own shopping comparison service in its own search results. The charges could still be expanded to include other services highlighted in Google's search results, such as travel recommendations and merchant reviews, mounting a challenge to the digital advertising system that generates most of the company's revenue. As if that blow wasn't enough, Europe's regulators also announced they are opening a separate inquiry into whether Google has been illegally using its popular Android software to bully smartphone and tablet makers to feature Google's products on their mobile devices. Google staunchly denied any wrongdoing, setting up a showdown that could still take years to resolve. The company has 10 weeks to respond to Wednesday's complaint.