In many ways, it was unavoidable. When a company becomes as large and as dominant as Google has managed to become in web search, it is usually only a matter of time before the European Commission launches an antitrust investigation.
But just as the company tried to take the offensive by announcing that it was subject to an EC probe, the question: even if Google succeeds in fighting off these particular allegations, will it be the end of the internet giant's troubles - or just the beginning?
Let's look first at the specifics of the commission's investigation. The complaints apparently come from three rival businesses; a British site called Foundem - whose grievances we have documented in the past - a similar French service called eJustice, and Ciao, a price comparison website bought by Microsoft in 2008.
They argue, in various ways, that Google deliberately screens out or demotes their sites - something that they claim is monopolistic, anti-competitive behaviour that should be regulated by officials in Brussels.
Are they right? On first glance, the case is a tricky one.
There are a lot of metasearch engines that make money by optimising themselves to appear high up in Google search results. There are also a lot of sites that spam Google's index in the same way. If Google builds an algorithm that discriminates against sites it feels aren't adding value for users - a process described very nicely in this recent Wired piece - is it being anti-competitive? There's a very fine line, but given Google's de facto search monopoly, it has to tread very carefully here.
"Though each case raises slightly different issues, the question they ultimately pose is whether Google is doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners," said Julia Holtz, the company's senior competition counsel.
"This is not the case. We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users' interests first and to compete fair and square in the market. We believe our business practices reflect those commitments."
But beyond the intricacies of this investigation, the bigger question is how many more complaints we might see coming out of the woodwork. Will it be a single, isolated case, or will it open the floodgates?
My suspicion is that this may be the beginning of a long and often torturous set of complaints for the Silicon Valley company, perhaps in a manner highly reminiscent of Microsoft's troubles with regulators over the last 15 years.
After all, Google has used its quest to "organise the world's information" as the subtext to expand in every direction, filling almost every gap imaginable online. Beyond the basic search engine for which it is most famous, it now has a strong presence in dozens of other areas, including video, office applications, email, maps, mobile phones, web browsers and many more.
And while it doesn't necessarily dominate all of the markets it moves into, it often distorts things by cross-subsidising its efforts with the enormous piles of cash made through internet advertising.
You may question whether that's right or wrong, but it's clearly something that is changing the landscape in all sorts of ways - the type of impact that entrepreneur Chris Dixon alluded to in a recent diatribe in which he argued that "every time an engineer joins Google, a startup dies".
We've heard before that the US Justice Department has had its eye on Google, and regulators have already looked at the company's links with rivals like Apple and Yahoo.
Now, with the company's core business in the sights of Brussels, the stage could be set for a much wider set of issues to come out - not least because the European Commission often uses small antitrust concerns as a proxy for a much larger stick.
The long-running battle with Microsoft, for example, often picked on relatively insignificant aspects of the company's business while appearing to try and discourage monopolistic behaviour in general.
So while Google will defend the small details of this particular case, it's got a much larger issue on its hands - and must act quickly if it doesn't want the problem to swell to immense proportions.
Burgess Powers creates web sites and applications like this one