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Ejustice.fr charges Google with fresh abuse

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CIOL Bureau
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Google has continued to thwart rivals despite complaints of anticompetitive behaviour filed with EU antitrust regulators last year, the creator of French legal search engine Ejustice.fr said on Tuesday.

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The French company is one of three online search engines that have accused the world No.1 search service of abusing its dominant position by demoting rival sites in results and giving preference to its own services.

The European Commission is investigating the allegations and Google has repeatedly said it is working with the EU executive authorities to address any concerns.

The search giant could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of its global turnover if found guilty of unfair competition in breach of EU rules.

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1plusV, which created Ejustice.fr, music search engine E-Musicpro.com and culture search engine Eguides.fr, said it had filed a follow-up complaint with the European Union antitrust regulator since its first accusations in February last year.

"With its follow-up complaint ... 1plusV brings to the notice of the Commission a series of new abuses (retaliation, unfair listings) as well as additional proof of the abuses already complained of last year," the company said in a statement.

The company accused Google of forcing vertical search engines to use its technology to search their sites between 2006 to 2010, a business practice that in effect kills off competitors depending on online advertising revenues.

1plusV said Google also delisted other sites published by the company soon after its complaint but reinstated the pages after regulators began investigating.

British price comparison site Foundem and German rival Ciao, which is owned by Microsoft, are the other two complainants to the Commission.

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