Google is to be investigated by the European Commission (EC) over claims it has abused its dominant market position by penalising competitors.

In a statement, the EC announced it would look at the alleged lowering of unpaid search results of companies such as price comparison sites that compete with services offered by Google.

Additionally, it will investigate accusations the organisation lowered the quality score of pay per click services that offered functions the search engine could also provide, which could force marketers to pay a higher price to see their ads displayed.

The antitrust enquiry will also examine claims the firm imposes exclusivity conditions on its advertising partners that prevent them from placing certain types of promotions on their sites that could offer an alternative to Google.

Commenting on the decision, Search Engine Land's editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan criticised the investigation, noting that Google, as a publication, should have the right to "publish whatever it wants" and forcing it to do otherwise would ultimately harm users.

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