The European Union’s top antitrust watchdog is setting her sights on Google, taking the tech giant to task for allegedly elbowing out competitors’ listings in online shopping searches.

The New York Times brought word of the EU’s charges today:

It is the first time that antitrust charges have been brought against Google, and the action raises pressure on the company to address complaints that a previous European commissioner allowed to play out for five years without resolution.

Looking ahead to another big digital market that Google dominates, the antitrust official, Margrethe Vestager, opened an investigation into whether the company’s Android smartphone software forces phone makers to favor Google’s own services and applications over competitors’.

“If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe,” said Ms. Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner.

[…] A large number of online operators have complained about Google in other areas, like travel and mapping. Ms. Vestager said that the inquiry might eventually expand to include those services.

The outcome of the EU’s showdown with Google could prove to be a watershed moment in terms of potentially curtailing Big Tech’s broad reach in a number of directions. However, it’s called Big Tech for a reason, and as the BBC noted, Google has unsurprisingly “rejected the idea its Shopping service distorts the market.”

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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