Canada’s Competition Watchdog Takes Google To Court Over Online Search Monopoly

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 17, 2013 3:08 PM EST

Google Inc. has been slapped with a legal motion by Canada's Competition Bureau, alleging the former that it has abused its dominant search position.

Google's vice president of data centres Joe Kava gives a speech during the opening ceremony of the Google data centre in Changhua Coastal Industrial Park, central Taiwan, December 11, 2013. Google Inc. said on Wednesday it will double its planned investment to $600 million for its data centre in Taiwan to cater to the world's fastest growing technology consumer markets. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

The bureau specifically wants an order issued against Google that would force it to release information about its business practices, including contracts.

Documents submitted by the bureau to the Federal Court of Canada said Google monopolizes one particular market relating to Internet search and advertising, which violates Canadian anti-competitive laws.

"The Commissioner has reason to believe that Google's alleged practice of anti-competitive acts, independently and/or on a combined basis, have had, are having, or are likely to have the effect of preventing or lessening competition substantially in the market for search services and search advertising services in Canada," Mark MacLachlan, a senior competition law officer with the Competition Bureau, said.

Among the alleged anti-competitive behaviors contained in the legal motion included entering into exclusive or default search agreements with Web sites, software and hardware vendors, favoring its own services in search results and restrictions in the use of the AdWords advertising platform.

Majority of Google's revenue comes from selling advertising related to the search queries users make. The Canadian Competition Bureau strongly believed Google gets as much as 90 percent of all online search queries in Canada.

This is not the first time Google has been slapped with legal motions. It has existing cases in the U.S., European Union and elsewhere.

"We will work cooperatively with the Competition Bureau to answer any questions they may have," Leslie Church, Google Canada's head of communications and public affairs, told the Financial Post.

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