EU's Almunia to decide on Google probe after Easter

BRUSSELS Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:55am EDT

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels February 1, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels February 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The EU's antitrust chief said on Wednesday that he would decide only after April 8 whether to formally charge Google or drop an ongoing investigation and that he would not bow to pressure to push out a decision more quickly.

The European Commission opened an investigation into the world's most popular search engine in November 2010 after rivals, including Microsoft, accused Google of abusing its dominant position in the market for web search engines.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said earlier this year that he would decide on a course of action after the end of March or early April. On Wednesday he said the decision would come after April 8, the date this year of Catholic Easter.

"(The case team) has asked me for some more days, even weeks, because next week we have holidays for some people," told a news briefing. "Maybe after Easter we will have some more clear consideration... We want to advance in our investigation but we want to advance on a solid basis, not because of a letter or some pressures."

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

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