EU: Almunia won’t budge on Google settlement, ‘pretty sure’ of decision

European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia was on the defense this week following a new wave of criticism over his decision to settle with Google, which ahd been probed for years by the Commission for allegations of abuse of dominance.

According to reports, Almunia said the case will be concluded in the “weeks after the summer break” and that, despite skepticism over the action taken to prevent Google from abusing its market position, “I’m pretty sure of my arguments,” he said.

The investigation was first launched in 2010 over claims Google unfairly prioritized its own services and advertisements in search results. A similar case was also settled in the US without any fines issued upon Google.

Almunia announced a settlement with Google last February and immediately was hit with criticism from top Google rivals like Microsoft. Even other European Commissioners voiced concern that he had announced plans to settle without first consulting with the rest of the regulatory body; the Commissioners also need to agree to settle before the deal becomes official.

Earlier this week, reports from France emerged that said various media companies throughout Europe plan to file a lawsuit against Google because they also found Almunia’s settlement deal to in insufficient at addressing Google’s market power.

The Commission confirmed Thursday that the companies that reportedly threatened a lawsuit, all part of the Open Internet Project, have filed a formal complaint against Google with the Commission.

Full content: Wall Street Journal and Computer World

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