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Google's Latest International Showdown

Perhaps more than any multinational corporation, Google has a singular knack for crossing paths with and rising the ire of foreign governments and bodies.

In the latest example -- and one that's particularly threatening to Google's global operations -- the European Commission has launched an anti-trust investigation against the search giant after three online companies alleged that its search functions were penalizing their businesses.

In particular, "The inquiry, disclosed late Tuesday, appears to focus largely on complaints that Google unfairly ranks the sites of [its] Internet competitors, in effect lowering their rank in search results that appear on Google sites," writes The Wall Street Journal.

According to the Telegraph (UK), the investigation comes under the Lisbon Treaty's "abuse of dominant position" powers and marks the first time that Google has been targeted by the European Union.

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Under the headline, "Why Europe could prove Google's undoing," the Guardian (UK) writes: "Even if Google defends itself against allegations of anti-competitive behavior, a European investigation could spark all sorts of trouble."

Sure, "The inquiry is at an 'early, fact-finding stage' and may not result in any further action, but it's clearly got Google worried," insists Digital Daily. "It was the EC, after all, that ultimately beat Microsoft into submission and forced it to alter its business practices."

"Over the past decade, European regulators have fined other American technology giants like Microsoft and Intel billions of dollars for violating antitrust laws," writes The New York Times.

In turn, "Antitrust experts said Google's decision to publicize the complaints itself -- on a company blog -- showed the company's determination to try and stop the case before it advanced any further," i.e., nip it in the bud.

Read the whole story at Telegraph (UK) et al. »

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