Google's Competitors Push EU for Antitrust Intervention

Want to force changes to search algorithms


BERLIN — With the European inquiry into Google's search engine practices entering a third year, a group of 11 Web businesses on Thursday sent a joint letter to Europe's top antitrust official, asking him to compel Google to change its business practices to ensure that smaller rivals are not unfairly harmed.

The letter, organized by one of the original complainants in the case, a British online shopping service called Foundem, asked the European competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, to take a hard line in ongoing negotiations with Google to produce "effective and future-proof" concessions that will protect small European competitors.

The commission, which has expressed concerns about Google's use of algorithmic standards to rank its own services ahead of those of some competitors, is studying Google's own proposals to avoid litigation, and may decide soon on whether to settle the matter or initiate a prosecution that could lead to a conviction and big fines.