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April 15, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:25am

EU set to finalise antitrust charges against Google

News: The European Commission sent out requests for data from complainants with 24-hour deadlines.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Union is accelerating its efforts to finalise antitrust charges against Google’s Android mobile operating system, following a year-long investigation.

In recent days, the European Commission has sent out requests for data from complainants with 24-hour deadlines.

Four lawyers involved in the case said that such short notice indicates that EU competition regulators were working to a tight deadline in order to finalise formal charges.

Citing one person close to the commission, the Financial Times reported that it was likely that EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager could publicly deliver a statement of objections as early as Wednesday next week, even though the process may still take slightly more time.

Google and the European Commission declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing.

The EU formally filed a complaint against Google a year ago over allegations of anti-competition malpractices.

Google has been accused of entering into anti-competitive agreements or abused a possible dominant position in the field of operating systems, applications and services for smart mobile devices.

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The company has however rebuffed the EU’s allegations, claiming that despite its 90% share of the European search market and Android’s 70% share of the European smartphone market, competition was still thriving in the sector.

If Google is found of any wrongdoing, the commission has the power to impose a fine of about 10% of the revenue reported in the previous financial year. Google’s revenue from core businesses increased 13.5% to $74.5bn in 2015.

EU officials are due to to meet with Google for state of play talks, under which companies will be updated of regulators’ concerns prior to sending formal objections.

Earlier this year, the European Commission revived antitrust probe against Google advertising practices.

The EU quizzed companies involved in online advertising over the search giant’s behavior.

In July 2015, Google launched a new user consent policy, which requires publishers that get visitors from the EU to ask their permission for using their data.

The changes followed requests from the EU data protection authorities. They affect the company’s own products and partners using Google products.

 

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