EU’s new antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, has revealed yesterday that she would need to take some time in order to decide on what the next step should be for the Google investigation that has been going strong for the past four years. Vestager’s predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, scrapped a settlement with the tech giant.
On November 1st, Margrethe Vestager took over from Joaquin Almunia and became EU’s new antitrust chief. Vestager was a free-trade advocating economy minister in home country, Denmark.
In one of the few statements she made after being assigned their role, she said that she would gather a sample of views from parties which are involved in the Google case and check on the latest developments of the case before making any decisions.
She revealed her plan during a European Parliament hearing.
The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players, they are multifaceted and complex. I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps.
She also said that the investigation would and should only focus on competition issues, even though some critics are saying that it should expand to media pluralism issues and data privacy.
Microsoft is one of Google’s most fervent critics and in September, the tech giant, along with publishers across Europe and some politicians, put pressure on Almunia to reject a set a concessions from Google.
Google wants to settle the EU probe and avoid any possible fine that they might get. The world’s most popular search engine could be fined up to 10% of its global turnover.
EU’s new antitrust chief didn’t say how much time she was going to need to come up with a solution or a decision about Google’s probe, but she added that:
To decide how to take our investigations forward, I need to know what those most directly affected by the practices in question have to say. I need to have a representative sample of views of those concerned. We are talking about fast moving markets—I have to be sure that we have all the facts up to date to get it right.