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Google critics call for swift EU action on antitrust charges

Google critics call for swift EU action on antitrust charges
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A group of 165 companies and industry bodies are reportedly urging the European Union’s antitrust enforcers to take swift action on Google, accusing the U.S.-based tech giant of giving its own services preferential placement in search results. 

“While we compete amongst ourselves for the best consumer experience, there is one common competitor that does not compete fairly - Google,” the letter from companies based in the U.S., United Kingdom and 21 EU countries states, according to Reuters, which obtained the letter. It was sent to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Thursday. 

“Google gained unjustified advantages through preferentially treating its own services within its general search results pages by displaying various forms of grouped specialised search results (so-called OneBoxes),” the letter added.

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The group reportedly includes 135 companies that offer online services plus 30 industry associations. Signatories include Yelp, Expedia, Trivago, Keloo, Stepstone and Foundem, according to Reuters. 

The group reportedly wrote that the Digital Markets Act, new EU tech rules that would aim to prevent dominant online platforms from favoring their own services, would take too long to come into effect and urged Vestager to act quickly to ensure that Google gives rivals equal treatment in search results. 

“Many of us may not have the strength and resources to wait until such regulation really takes effect,” they wrote, according to Reuters. 

The European Commission confirmed to Reuters it had received the letter and would reply in due course. 

A Google spokesperson defended the company, telling The Hill in a statement that “people expect Google to give them the most relevant, high quality search results that they can trust.” 

"They do not expect us to preference specific companies or commercial rivals over others, or to stop launching helpful services which create more choice and competition for Europeans," the spokesperson added.

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Google is also facing antitrust charges in the U.S. 

The Department of Justice last month charged the tech giant with illegally maintaining a monopoly on search and search advertising. 

--Updated at 10:29 a.m.