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Google accused of monopoly power abuse in Europe

After five years of investigation, the European Union has come to a conclusion that Google has abused its position as Europe’s dominant search engine.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement: "I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

"If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe." The Commission can fine firms up to a 10 per cent of their annual sales - or a penalty of over $6 billion (£4 billion) in Google's case.

Google obviously disagrees. In a blog post regarding the investigation, Google said: "While Google may be the most used search engine, people can now find and access information in numerous different ways - and allegations of harm...have proved to be wide of the mark."

“There are numerous other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo and a new wave of search assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.”

“In addition, there are a ton of specialized services like Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide, Expedia or eBay. For example, Amazon, eBay, and Axel Springer’s Idealo are the three most popular shopping services in Germany.”

Even though Google says it has not harmed consumers or rivals, it’s hard to neglect the fact that it has 90 per cent of the market share in Europe.

In the coming weeks Google will give its formal response. A final verdict from the EU could take years.