EU's Vestager says all options open in Google case

Wed Nov 4, 2015 1:07pm EST
 
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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union regulators are keeping their options open as to whether to sanction Google (GOOGL.O: Quote) for abusing its market power or settle the long-running case with the company, Europe's chief competition regulator said on Wednesday.

The comments by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager came as her officials reviewed Google's response to EU charges laid out in April and waited for feedback from more than a dozen complainants.

The European Commission has accused the world's most popular Internet search engine of favoring its shopping service in delivering search results at the expense of rivals.

Vestager said she had made no final decision.

"At this time it's still open as to how it will end. It can take different routes, there is no decision yet on our side at least as to how it should end," Vestager told reporters.

Vestager can either fine the company up to $6.6 billion euros and order it to stop its anti-competitive business practices or give it the opportunity to change its practices without any sanction or finding of wrongdoing.

Google has said a fine would be inappropriate because of the unusual nature of the case and its willingness to head off charges with the offer of concessions to Vestager's predecessor last year. It said the charges have no legal or economic basis.

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Google and European Union logos are seen in Sarajevo, in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic