TripAdvisor latest to file antitrust complaint against Google

The online travel site says Google is engaging in "unfair practices." The move follows a similar one by Expedia, which filed an antitrust complaint last week against the search giant.

Online travel site TripAdvisor has become the latest company to take aim at Google.

The company today filed an antitrust complaint against Google in the European Union, charging the search company with "anti-competitive and unfair practices...that harm the marketplace and consumer welfare." Bloomberg was first to report on the story.

TripAdvisor's move follows a similar one by online travel site Expedia, which filed a complaint against Google last week. Both companies argue that Google is using its dominant position in search to harm competition in the marketplace. They've joined a slew of companies across other markets that have complained about Google over the last year.

The European Union's competition czar Joaquin Almunia is well-versed in all matters related to Google. In January, he said that his office had been fielding several complaints against the search company and would make a decision as early as March on whether he would launch a formal complaint against Google. Almunia reportedly believes now that a final decision on the matter could come down this month.

The European Commission first launched its investigation into Google in November 2010 , following complaints from search providers, U.K.-based price comparison site Foundem, French legal search service ejustice.fr, and Microsoft-owned U.K. search engine Ciao. The European Commission said it was examining whether Google artificially lowered rankings while boosting its own services.

Microsoft last year followed that up with a formal complaint against Google , saying that it has "taken to entrench its dominance in the markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of European consumers."

"How does it do this?" Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post at the time. "Google has built its business on indexing and displaying snippets of other organizations' Web content. It understands as well as anyone that search engines depend upon the openness of the Web in order to function properly, and it's quick to complain when others undermine this.

"Unfortunately, Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers," Smith said.

For its part, Google has been saying that it'll cooperate with investigators.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the TripAdvisor complaint.

 

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