Just last week, Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) agreed to be nice and cut short a two-year investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into some of the company’s business practices. Smoke and mirrors are not likely to work as well in Europe, however, where the European Union’s competition chief told the Financial Times that Google is “diverting traffic” to its own services in violation of EU antitrust rules.
Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s chief antitrust officer, said of Google:
They are monetising this kind of [vertical search] business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of this dominant position.
Almunia noted that Google gets about 90% of all EU search traffic, an even higher proportion than it gets in the U.S. Google’s competitors, including especially Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) are likely to press the EU for much tougher restrictions than the FTC imposed or that the EU will probably impose.