Group of 165 Google critics call for swift EU antitrust action

A group of 165 companies and industry bodies have called on EU antitrust enforcers to take a tougher line against Google, saying the US tech giant unfairly favours its own services on its web searches, Reuters reported.

The group includes US and UK companies as well as peers in 21 EU countries. It sent a joint letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Thursday, saying Google was giving its own services, such as those for accommodation, travel and jobs, preferential placement in its search results and urging swift action to stop the practice. Google, a unit of Alphabet GOOGL.O, has refuted assertions that it unfairly favours its own services. It says that its users are not locked in and that competition to its services is just one click away on the internet.

Vestager has levied fines totalling €8.25bn against Google in the past three years for abusing its market power to favour its shopping comparison service, its Android mobile operating system and its advertising business.

The 165-strong group - which says it is the largest-ever to write in concert to EU competition chiefs urging action - comprised 135 companies that offer online services plus 30 industry associations.

Vestager is due to announce a draft law on 2 December, which will need input from EU countries and the European Parliament before it can become legislation in a process that could a year or more. It is unclear how the new rules would affect Google’s presentation of its search results.

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