Brazil Investigates Google Over Antitrust Charges

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 11:53 AM


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Brazil is investigating Google Inc. for anticompetitive practices alleged by Microsoft Corp. and Brazilian rivals, adding to government pressure in one of Google's fastest-growing major markets.

Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade said it is looking into accusations that Google has unfairly used rivals' content, discouraged their advertisers and favored its own product listings in search results.

A Google spokeswoman in Sao Paulo said in an e-mail that the company would cooperate with Brazilian regulators.

Microsoft filed a complaint charging Google with obstructing advertising campaigns across multiple search engines, giving an unfair advantage to Google's highly profitable AdWords service, according to a Cade statement.

Brazilian comparison shopping sites Buscapé and Bondfardo accused Google of reproducing product reviews from their users, a practice known as "scraping," without allowing the competitors to do the same with its website Google Shopping.

Cade is also looking into complaints from Buscapé and Bondfardo that Google gives unfair prominence to Google Shopping on its general Web search, making it the only price-comparison tool that appears with photos, prices and evaluations.

The regulatory pressure comes as Brazilian authorities take a closer look at major U.S. Internet companies such as Google and Facebook Inc. after revelations that the United States spied on digital communications by President Dilma Rousseff and state-run oil company Petrobras.

Rousseff has pushed new legislation that would force major Internet companies to store locally gathered data inside Brazil, requiring the construction of costly new data centers.

Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo recently suggested tech companies were not paying enough taxes.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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