Joaquin Almunia, who is leading an EU antitrust investigation of Google, has apparently decided not to decide anything on the matter until after Easter.
Reuters reports that Almunia said on Wednesday that he would only decide after April 8, “whether to formally charge Google or drop an ongoing investigation”.
The report quotes him as saying, “We want to advance in our investigation but we want to advance on a solid basis, not because of a letter or some pressures.”
The letter he’s referencing, would likely be the one sent by the European Consumers’ Organisation, called for the regulation of Google, though the European Commission has received letters from other groups in the past as well.
In the letter, European Consumers’ Organisation Director General Monique Goyens wrote, “Consumers use search engines on a daily basis to source the information most relevant to them and to access content of their choice. The fact that search engines select and rank results according to perceived relevance is, in general, of tremendous benefit to consumers. Consumers trust that search results are impartial and based solely on relevance to their query, without any manipulation of the order or results.”
“However, we are concerned that the dominant search engine, Google, may have abused its position in the search market to direct users to its own services and secondly to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services. 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.”
It’s going to be very interesting to see where Almunia lands in the Google case. Generally in matters of competition, Google has floated through regulation relatively unscathed. Last month, for example the DoJ approved the company’s Motorola Mobility acquisition.