Google has been granted another extension to respond to antitrust charges filed by the European Commission (EC) relating to alleged abuse of its search dominance to benefit its own services.
The charges, officially a Statement of Objections (SO), were filed in April and Google had 10 weeks to respond, which fell in mid-June. The EC granted a Google a six-week extension to this deadline until 17 August.
EC spokesman Ricardo Cardoso has now confirmed that Google has been granted another extension, this time of two weeks.
“The EC has agreed to Google's request to extend the deadline to respond to the SO by an additional two weeks. This means that the reply is now due on 31 August,” he said.
“Google requested additional time to reply to the SO. In line with normal practice, the EC analysed the reasons for the request. As a result, it has granted an extension allowing Google to fully exercise its rights of defence.”
V3 contacted Google for comment on the decision but had received no reply at the time of publication.
The decision to file charges against Google came after a long-running back-and-forth between the EC and Google over the company's search practices in relation to its own shopping services.
The EC had tried to get Google to make changes that would satisfy the EC's and competitors' concerns that the firm was unfairly favouring its own services at the expense of rivals'.
However, the EC remained unconvinced that the changes Google was offering were enough and Margrethe Vestager, EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, announced the EC's intention to file official antitrust charges in April.
"In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," she said at the time.
"Google now has the opportunity to convince the EC to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirms our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe."
Google has always denied the charges. Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search, wrote a detailed blog post outlining why Google believes the EC stance is wrong.
“We respectfully but strongly disagree with the need to issue an SO and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead,” he said at the time.
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