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EU's antitrust chief says analyzing Google's practices is a "high priority"

Europe’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is aiming to launch a renewed probe into Google's Android, shopping, advertising and more.

Published onOctober 26, 2015

EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager

Europe’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is aiming to launch a renewed probe into Google’s Android, shopping, advertising and more. The antitrust chief, who took the job over a year ago, told the Wall Street Journal that launching an investigation on Google’s practices is being highly prioritized. This suggests European regulators could potentially launch a series of inspections in the near future, though it should be noted that no official action has been taken as of yet.

In the interview, Vestager explained:

The Google case is about misuse of a dominant position, to promote yourself in a neighboring market not on your merits but because you can. And no matter the course of the case, there should be a takeaway which can be understood.

While this may seem like a blanketed strike against Google as a whole, Vestager notes that each of these cases are being treated as a separate investigation.

“…things are very different,” said Vestager, “what they have in common is that the name Google appears in each one, but apart from that they are very different. And therefore I do not think of it as one Google case but literally as different investigations and different cases.”

FTC may launch antitrust case against Google over Android

Vestager announced an in-depth investigation into Android back in April, which was based on the claim that Google was abusing Android to unfairly gain marketshare for its services and software. At the same time, she issued a Statement of Objections regarding Google’s shopping service.

Commenting on the Android-specific investigation, Vestager explained the importance of focusing on the OS itself:

…it is a different creature than the Google [shopping] case because people don’t think so much about the operating system on their phone. But those who produce phones or sell phones or develop applications, they are very preoccupied with the operating system. So we give that a high priority.

We’ll be sure to update this post as we learn more about the EU chief’s plans.