Google rejected on Thursday a complaint by Europe’s competition watchdog that the internet giant is abusing its dominance in web search to promote its own products.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, alleged in April that Google has improperly favored its shopping-comparison service in its own search results.
Google Senior Vice President Kent Walker said in a blog post that the Commission’s conclusions “are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.”
Google said it submitted a rebuttal of the EU Commission’s case of around 150 pages with economic, data and legal analysis to back up its position.
Critics contend that online consumers are unable to see compelling alternatives from other merchants who either refuse or can’t afford to pay to be catapulted into a high spot in Google’s shopping rankings.
EU competition spokesman Ricardo Cardoso confirmed that the Commission had received Google’s reply.
“We will carefully consider Google’s response before taking any decision on how to proceed and do not want to prejudge the final outcome of the investigation,” he said.
Walker said that Europe’s antitrust regulator offers “a peculiar and problematic” solution to the issue by demanding that Google show advertising sourced and ranked by other companies within its own advertising space.
Such a move “would harm the quality and relevance of our results,” he said.
The Mountain View, California, company believes that such an obligation can only be legally justified in cases where a company has a duty to provide essential supplies to a rival, such as in the gas or electricity sector.
The Commission’s allegations, if substantiated, could lead to similar accusations over other services highlighted in Google’s search results, such as travel recommendations and merchant reviews, mounting a challenge to the digital advertising system that generates most of the company’s revenue.