In early 2010, Google confirmed that it had received EC complaints from Microsoft-owned Ciao and French legal search engine eJustice.fr—both of which expressed grave concerns about the terms and conditions imposed on Google s advertising syndication partners.

At that point, the EC's antitrust boss outlined four different areas of concern.

And it's that monopolistic behaviour that sits at the very heart of Google's status as the gatekeeper of the Internet, even as it continues to insist that "competition is just a click away."

Others wondered if relationships between it and Google had simply thawed thanks to the arrival of two new chiefs at the companies.

So where does Microsoft's exit—complete with the muffling of the funfair trumpet—leave the remaining complainants in the EC antitrust case?

However, observers have argued that StreeMap's case was too limited in scope because it failed to address Google's alleged anti-competitive practices of demoting its rivals in the search market.

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