Google could hear more on EU case on Wednesday: EU officials

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2015 2:40 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google may learn more on Wednesday about how Europe's antitrust chief will treat complaints about its market dominance, according to EU officials who said Margrethe Vestager was likely to make an announcement.

However, industry and EU sources played down suggestions that Vestager, who took over as EU competition commissioner in November and has indicated she will not be rushed into concluding the five-year-old inquiry, was about to announce charges against the U.S. Internet search giant.

A European Commission spokesman declined comment on Tuesday on whether Vestager, who is due to fly to the United States on Wednesday afternoon, would make a statement after the weekly meeting of all 28 EU commissioners in the morning.

That followed a comment on Monday by another commissioner, digital economy chief Guenther Oettinger, who said Vestager would make a statement on Google in days. Another EU official said he expected an announcement on Wednesday.

Asked about such remarks, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a routine news briefing on Tuesday: "The Commission does not always express itself on ongoing competition cases.

"If there is a time for announcements it will be announced, but there is nothing on this question today."

Google could not be reached for comment.

Andreas Schwab, a member of the European Parliament who has pushed for the EU executive to consider even breaking up Google, told Reuters he expected the Commission to conclude its investigation and issue a statement of objections - effectively bringing charges against Google that could result in huge fines and orders to reshape its business in Europe.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti, Francesco Guarascio and Tom Koerkemeier; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)