No conclusions on EU's Google probe for weeks
Antitrust chief: 'We won't be rushed! Besides we're on hols'
The European Commission's antitrust chief has said that the body won't be pressured into an early decision on its investigation into Google over web search dominance.
The EC started the probe in November 2010 after other web firms complained that Google was abusing its dominance as a search engine behemoth. Critics accuse the Chocolate Factory of using its search results to direct people to its own services and away from its rivals' products.
On March 19, the European Consumers' Organisation added its voice to the concerns, writing a letter (PDF) to the EU antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia that was made public this week. The organisation was reported as saying that it expected the investigation to come up with some recommendations in the next few days.
However, at a press conference today, Almunia said there'd be nothing new until after 8 April at the earliest.
"[The investigating team] has asked me for some more days, even weeks, because next week we have holidays for some people," he said, according to Reuters.
"Maybe after Easter we will have some more clear consideration... We want to advance in our investigation but we want to advance on a solid basis, not because of a letter or some pressures," he added.
Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumers' Organisation, said that the body was concerned that Google could have abused its dominant position to the detriment of consumers.
"Google continues to expand its areas of activities and develop its own services and products. Given its role as gatekeeper to the internet, Google is in a unique position to restrict access to its competitors and direct traffic to its own services," she said in the letter.
"We expect the European Commission to take a strong stance and protect the principle of search neutrality according to which search results should be impartial and based solely on their relevance to consumers’ queries. It is important that the European Commission exercises its powers to sanction dominant companies who abuse their position to the detriment of consumer welfare."
Complaints against Google as a search engine, which are being pursued in the US as well as the EU, have come from a number of search engines as well as the Fairsearch organisation, an affiliation of web companies including Microsoft, Trip Advisor and Expedia, among others. ®
It seems to me they are being pressured by both sides to reach the "right" decision. Most of the companies that have complained to the EU are backed, owned by Microsoft.
All sides seems to find fun in writing letters to the EU pressing them to see things there way.
Still no one explained to me why I would want a search engine to direct me to another search engine when I am searching for a Washing Machine.
With Microsoft on the other side? Kidding, right?
They've never forgiven the Chocolate Factory for doing what they never could with a mobile platform based on an OS that they are actively failing to destroy.
"The European Commission's antitrust chief has said that the body won't be pressured into accepting the payoff currently on offer from Google, as they think that they might be able to induce Google to come across with an even richer offer for an outcome that will be acceptable to Google."
I think that my little edit here might be slightly closer to the truth than the rather coy official statement.