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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: European investigators today opened an inquiry into whether Google illegally pushes competitors out of its search results. It’s the first major investigation into the online company’s business practices.
The BBC’s technology reporter Jonathan Fildes is with us now from London with the latest. Hi Jonathan.
JAONATHAN FILDES: Hi there.
CHIOTAKIS: Google is a gargantuan search engine. What do rivals say they’ve don’t to abuse their size?
FILDES: Well the rivals are saying that Google is tweaking it’s algorithms, these algorithms that it uses to produce it’s search results. And it’s tweaking those so it promotes it’s own services and penalizes it’s competitors. So in particular it’s penalizing cites like price comparison cites and these so called vertical search engines which focus in a very specific area.
CHIOTAKIS: Now Jonathan, this is a cut-throat business, I mean some would claim that anyways. Is there something wrong with this?
FILDES: I think Google’s size is a worry, and the fact that it’s now using that size potentially and allegedly to push out competitors and the competitors say that this is stifling innovation and not giving consumers choice.
CHIOTAKIS: What kind of broader implications are we talking about? Could this spread, to say, the United States?
FILDES: Well, we’ve already seen a very broad investigation launched in the U.S. So earlier this year the Attorney General of Texas launched a very similar investigation. In fact it launched that investigation due to complaints brought by some of the same firms, including this British firm called Foundem.
CHIOTAKIS: The BBC’s technology reporter Jonathan Fildes in London. Jonathan thanks.
FILDES: Thank you.