EU to investigate Google’s “unfair practices” in search market

Company accused of giving preferential placement to its own services in searches

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday launched a formal investigation into Google over allegations that the search company has abused its dominant position in the search and advertising market.

US software maker Microsoft and UK price comparison site Foundem have accused the search company of giving preferential placement to its own services and unfairly lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of some services in order to kill competition.

EU will also reportedly look into allegations that Google imposes "exclusivity obligations" on advertising partners preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their websites.

It will also examine if Google actually lowered the Quality Score -- which determines the price of the ad -- for sponsored links of competing search services.

Google refuted the accusations and pledged to work towards improving its search practices and to co-operate with the EU.