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Google in EU antitrust inquiry

LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- Google is being scrutinized by European antitrust officials, who have notified the Internet search giant that three companies have complained about its practices.

The European Commission is investigating complaints made by Ciao! from Bing, which is a unit of Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500); UK price comparison site Foundem; and French legal search engine ejustice.fr, Google said.

The three are arguing that the search firm suppresses the ranking of its competitors in search results.

"The Commission has not opened a formal investigation for the time being," according to a statement released by the executive arm of the European Union. "As is usual when the Commission receives complaints, it informed Google earlier this month and asked the company to comment on the allegations."

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), which revealed the inquiry in a post on an official company blog early Wednesday, said that given its growth, it wasn't surprised its search and search advertising practices were being examined.

"This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory when you are a large company," senior competition counsel Julia Holtz said on the company's European Public Policy blog.

She said that Google will provide information on the complaints and said that the company is confident its business operates in line with European competition law. To top of page

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