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France's antitrust watchdog Tuesday said that Google Inc. has a dominant position in the French Internet search advertising market, a decision that could lead to further scrutiny of the U.S.-based web giant's business practices in the country.
In its opinion—which the competition watchdog said is the first of its kind worldwide—the Autorité said that ads which appear when people type queries into an Internet search engine form a specific market, which Google dominates.
The opinion issued on Tuesday has no legal effect and won't incur any sanctions for Google but it sends a warning sign to the company. "We are sending a series of very precise signals to Google to warn them where they risk crossing the line and to tell them which conditions we attach to certain practices," President of the Autorité de la concurrence, Bruno Lasserre, said in a briefing with journalists.