The European Commission is apparently preparing to file antitrust charges against Google in the next few weeks.
The EU’s top antitrust authority has been asking companies that have complained against Google for permission to publish information they have provided about Google’s anti-competitive behaviour.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, such behaviour is a strong indication that formal antitrust charges are forthcoming.
“The fact that the commission has been seeking fuller [information] from complainants, against short deadlines [of] a couple of days, shows it is in the final stages of getting a statement of objections together,” said one European lawyer with knowledge of the case.
It comes as the culmination of a five year investigation of the internet search giant by the EC. The investigation has been looking into whether Google unfairly prioritises its own services in search results, as well as whether the company ‘scrapes’ content from rival sites, among other things.
Read More: FTC Staff report on Google Antitrust investigation: The Highlights
The news comes not long after an embarrassing leak from the FTC, which revealed that US authorities had similar misgivings about Google’s conduct in these key areas. While the conclusion in Google’s home country was to not file charges, there were certainly grounds for concern and plenty of material for another regulating body to mount a case.
If the case does go ahead, as seems likely, it would be the EU’s biggest antitrust suit of its kind since it took on Microsoft a decade ago.