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Google to European Union: Antitrust allegations are 'incorrect'

The search giant responds to EU claims it abused its search dominance, saying regulators failed to consider the impact of rivals like Amazon and eBay.

Google's message to Europe: Its industry-dominant search engine doesn't hurt competition in the European Union, it actually helps.

That was the Internet giant's latest volley Thursday to antitrust charges first made by European regulators five years ago.

"We believe that Google increases choice for European consumers and offers valuable opportunities for businesses of all sizes," wrote Google General Counsel Kent Walker, in an 820-word statement.

The response is the latest in a drawn out battle between Google and the European Union. At issue is the EU's claims that Google has abused its position as the world's most dominant search engine in unfairly prioritizing its shopping services over those of competitors. The dispute could cost Google billions of dollars in fines.

Google says the EU's charges are "incorrect." © Brooks Kraft/Corbis

"We believe those allegations are incorrect," Walker wrote.

This isn't the only battle Google is waging in Europe. Last May, European regulators told the company to change the way it displays Web page results, removing links people say are out of date, excessive or irrelevant.

Google's legal fights with European regulators are part of a growing concern about the power of technology and Silicon Valley's influence on our lives. This has set off the EU's most high-profile antitrust case since the commission went after Microsoft in 2004. In Europe, Google's search engine holds around 90 percent of the search market.

In Google's response to antitrust concerns, the company said the commission's calculations did not properly take into account the rise of rival e-commerce services like Amazon and eBay. "The universe of shopping services has seen an enormous increase in traffic from Google, diverse new players, new investments, and expanding consumer choice," Walker wrote.

The EU's probe of Google began in 2010 but has repeatedly stalled because the company and the commission could not agree on settlement terms. The company originally had until September 17 to respond to the charges, but the EU granted Google a two-week extension after the search giant requested it.