Google could have the competition case brought against it by the EU widened following fresh complaints

Google's EU competition investigation could be widened

The EU’s competition watchdog investigating Google over unfair search engine practices could turn its attention to the firm’s other services.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he had received several complaints about other areas of the US tech giants business, which could see it end up with a bigger case than Microsoft, which was hit with a more than €2.2bn (£1.7bn) fine after a decade-long battle with the watchdog.

"We have received complaints on the possible diversion of Internet traffic towards Google services which are not search services, so this is a possible third investigation concerning Google," Almunia told a European Parliament hearing yesterday afternoon.

The watchdog chief, who is scheduled to leave office by the end of October, did not provide any further details and it was not clear if he would open a case or leave it to his successor Margrethe Vestager.

Google spokesman Al Verney said in response: "We continue to work with the European Commission to resolve their concerns."

In June, Almunia said companies including European publishers, a telecoms operator, an association of picture industries and photo libraries as well as an advertising platform had complained about Google leveraging its dominance to promote its social network Google+ and its online video website YouTube.

Almunia also reiterated previous comments on a possible investigation into Google's Android mobile operating system, the most popular in the world and also the subject of several complaints.

Two weeks ago, Almunia said he would not be able to wrap up before leaving office the four-year-old probe into accusations that Google squeezed out rivals in Internet search results following fresh studies and arguments from complainants such as Microsoft.

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