According to a source at Reuters, the world’s most popular Internet search engine, Google Inc., was granted an additional two weeks to respond to charges filed by the European Union (EU) that Google is abusing in “market power” in numerous countries in the European Union and to avoid a potential billion-euro dollar fine.
An unidentified Google spokesman told the press yesterday that the European Commission has extended the original deadline for replying to the charges from July 17 to August 31. This is reportedly not the first but the second extension given to Google.
The search engine company had originally been given a deadline of July 7 by which to acknowledge the statement of objections or charge sheet. The EU confirmed it had agreed to give Google extensions.
Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso stated: “In line with normal practice, the Commission analyzed the reasons for the request. As a result, it has granted an extension allowing Google to fully exercise its rights of defense,” It was this past April that the European Commission accused Google of falsifying web search engine results to favor its own shopping service.
An anonymous source familiar with the issue said that Google Inc. is not expected to request a “closed-door hearing” in order to present its defense. Experts in the antitrust field note that this type of legal matter, generally attended by national competition regulators and senior Commission officials, do not usually end well for the companies in question.
The charges made in April by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager have heightened an ongoing five-year investigation that Google Inc. has attempted three times to settle unsuccessfully. According to the Commission’s charge sheet the search engine giant could be fined an amount significant enough to guarantee deterrence if it is found guilty. The European Union antitrust authority has the power to sanction lawbreakers as much as “10 percent of their global turnover.”
Google Must Respond To Charges By August 31