EBay leaps to Google's defence in EU competition probe

Ebay and Google have reportedly found themselves allies in a battle with the European Union over the alleged abuses of the monopoly Google wields over search.

In its effort to prove that the competitive spirit of the web is alive and well Google can now cite online auction house eBay as exhibit A after its chief executive proclaimed his business to be a direct competitor to Google.

Speaking to the Financial Times John Donahoe said that traditional barriers between forms of online commerce were becoming blurred, adding that “Yes . . . We’re a strong commerce competitor.”

Google is accused of suffocating specialist shopping search engines by placing its own promoted purchase content at the top of generic search results, but the search giant protests that it is still a minnow in comparison to the likes of eBay or Amazon.

The company's market share for search in Europe stands at more than 90 per cent but in terms of commerce Google shopping drew just 13 million unique visitors from the continent in February, versus 100 million a piece for eBay and Amazon.

Several firms backing the anti-trust motion are unmoved by the intervention however insist that the two remain separate markets, with e-commerce sites such as eBay serving as ‘merchant platforms’ to Google’s shopping comparison service.

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