PARIS — France’s competition regulator has found possible abuses by Google Inc. in its online advertising practices because of its dominant market position.
The report by the French Competition Authority is not legally binding, and Google dismissed its conclusions. Still, the report presents a new challenge to Google in France, where the search engine is seen by many as too powerful.
The regulator said it sees no need for new sectorwide regulations but recommended unspecified “targeted responses’’ to address complaints that Google overcharges customers and makes it too hard for other companies to compete.
The report focuses on ads that appear when users type in search queries, which provide the bulk of Google’s revenue.
Last month, European Union regulators announced an investigation into whether Google fixes its search results to favor its services over those of rivals. The company could face billions in fines if found guilty.
Google said “search ads are one of many options for advertisers. If the price of search ads rises, advertisers can and do switch to other formats, both online and offline.’’
The French regulator had positive words for Google: “In and of itself, this dominant position is not reprehensible: It results from a great deal of innovation, supported by significant and continuous investments.’’
But it went on to say that it had “identified possible exclusionary conduct intended to discourage, delay, or eliminate competitors,’’ such as artificially high barriers to entry into the market and technical obstacles.
It also noted “possible operational abuses, whereby the search engine apparently imposes exorbitant conditions on its partners or customers, treats them in a discriminatory manner, or refuses to guarantee a minimum degree of transparency in contractual relations.’’