EU said to bol­ster an­titrust probe of Google

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By BLOOMBERG

The Euro­pean Union is bol­ster­ing its orig­i­nal an­titrust in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Google Inc’s search en­gine as reg­u­la­tors asked the com­pany’s crit­ics to de­clas­sify de­tails of meet­ings and e-mail ex­changes re­lated to the probe, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the case.

That’s typ­i­cally a fi­nal step be­fore the EU files an an­titrust com­plaint, mean­ing Google could have to de­fend it­self against a sup­ple­men­tary state­ment of ob­jec­tions over its shop­pingser­vice.

Of­fi­cials fre­quently ask com­pa­nies for per­mis­sion to use con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion be­fore they send out a so-called state­ment of ob­jec­tions, said the two peo­ple, who asked not to be named be­cause the case is not pub­lic.

The EUhas ex­panded its in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Google’s busi­ness prac­tices since Mar­grethe Vestager took over as the bloc’s an­titrust chief in late 2014. It’s opened probes into Google’s An­droid mobile op­er­at­ing sys­tem, fil­ing a for­mal com­plaint in April, and peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­quiry into ad­ver­tis­ing ser­vices said on Mon­day that the reg­u­la­tor is tak­ing steps to­ward a state­ment of ob­jec­tions in that mat­ter, too.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion de­clined to com­ment. Google didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

A new state­ment of ob­jec­tions may de­lay a fi­nal EU rul­ing on search ser­vices un­til next year at the ear­li­est. The EU has been slow to move for­ward with its first case into Al­pha­bet Inc’sGoogle unit. Vestager­has said reg­u­la­tors were wad­ing through “truck­loads of data” to counter the com­pany’s ar­gu­ments.

Kate Sut­ton of UK map­ping ser­vice Streetmap said in a Face­book post on Mon­day that the EU had asked her to ap­prove adding a men­tion of an Oc­to­ber 2015 meet­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors to their file.

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