European Decision on Google Antitrust Pushed to the End of Summer (Or Later)
Thought that whole Google antitrust brouhaha was over? It’s really not. The EU is now saying in the vaguest of terms that August or later is “a possible deadline.”
“We can reach an agreement after the summer break. We can envisage this as a possible deadline,” European Commission head of competition Joaquin Almunia said today at a conference, according to Reuters.
The slow turnaround comes as a bit of a surprise after Almunia had put pressure on Google to submit its proposed remedies to concerns about anticompetitive actions in search and advertising by the end of January — which the company did.
But it’s really not that shocking after repeated lags in the European antitrust investigation of the company, which started way back in 2010.
Critics of tech industry regulation charge that the pace of government moves much slower than that of innovation. The Google case is now becoming a textbook example — especially as search transitions to mobile, which was a consideration but not the focus of the antitrust investigation.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission already settled with and declined to bring charges against Google, under the leadership of Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who is stepping down.
As we’ve reported, it’s likely that in Europe Google will agree to better labeling of its own properties in search results, as a concession to the claims of competing vertical search engines. That would make it a stricter deal than in the U.S., but it wouldn’t radically alter how Google does its business.