The European Commission on Wednesday formally accused Google of abusing its dominant presence to favour its own products in internet searches, and announced an antitrust probe into the Android mobile operating system.
"The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services in the European Economic Area by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages," Efe news agency quoted the commission as saying in a statement.
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"The commission's preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers," the statement said.
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said that Google would be given the opportunity to defend itself to the commission, but that if suspicions were confirmed by findings of the investigation, the internet giant would be held accountable and would be obliged to change its business practices.
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The commission launched investigations in 2010 to determine whether Google's business model could amount to an abuse of a dominant position, restricting competition in the field of web searches and online advertising.