Efforts by a Microsoft-backed lobby group to win support for a probe into Google’s domination of search engine rankings have failed to sway Australia's Productiviy Commission.
The government body barely touched on the issue during an inquiry into the economic structure and performance of the Australian retail industry released late last week..
Earlier this year, Microsoft-backed group ICOMP made submissions to the inquiry, recommending the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) open a formal inquiry into Google’s practices and market dominance.
In September ICOMP issued a submission to the Productivity Commission claiming Google's dominant position in search could be costing Australians up to $430 million in "lost time".
The commission's final report made note of iCOMP’s concerns, but made no formal recommendations.
“The market conduct of search engine providers is a critical issue for online e-commerce to ensure that the provision of information to consumers, one of the key advantages of internet shopping, is not compromised,” the report states.
“Accordingly, where there is evidence of possible anti-competitive behaviour, regulators both in Australia and overseas are investigating this matter.”
A spokesman for ICOMP told iTnews that he was pleased that the Productivity Commission "acknowledged that the conduct of search engine providers is essential for a healthy online environment to ensure the provision of information to consumers is not compromised".
"ICOMP also welcomes the Productivity Commission's support for continued monitoring and investigation of instances of anti-competitive behaviour in the online search environment," they said.
Google Australia declined to comment on the report.
Online retailing in Australia
The report summarised the current state of online retailing in Australia, with key points including:
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