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EU: Google "abusing dominant position" in search

While Google got away with a relative slap on the wrist from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its search practices, the web giant will apparently not get the same treatment over here in Europe.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, said that his "conviction" is that Google is "diverting traffic" to its own products.

Almunia said that Google's business practice appears to be an "abuse of [its] dominant position."

In the US, the FTC recently found no evidence that Google was abusing its power via search, concluding that any recent changes it made to its search results benefited the consumer. Detractors like Microsoft had complained that Google was favouring its own products in search results even if rivals had better solutions.

The EU probe dates back to November 2010, when the commission announced that it opened an antitrust investigation into Google over allegations that the company had abused its dominant position in online search. Google issued its response in July 2012, but the case is still ongoing.

In a statement, a Google spokeswoman said "we continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."

In other Google antitrust news, Bloomberg reported that UK shopping comparison site Foundem has sued Google for anti-competitive behaviour related to search. Foundem wants damages for revenues lost.

This is not the first time firm has tangled with Google. In 2010, Foundem and two other companies -, and Ciao from Bing - filed complaints with the EU over Google's rankings, prompting the ongoing EU investigation.

At the time, Google said that Foundem is partly funded by Microsoft. But Microsoft said that it partly funds the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), of which Foundem is a member.