EU Decision on Google Search Probe to Take Months, L’Echo Says

The European Commission’s antitrust probe into whether Google Inc. (GOOG) favors its own services over competitors in search results will conclude “towards the end of the summer break,” at the earliest, L’Echo quoted EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia as saying in an interview.

The commission will begin a so-called market test, in which is seeks views from industry on concessions offered by Google, “in the coming days,” the newspaper cited Almunia as saying.

“In the best case scenario, the decision could come towards the end of the summer break, if we take the optimistic hypothesis that there is an agreement,” Almunia told L’Echo in the interview.

Should efforts to reach a settlement fail, then “Google risks a long confrontation,” Almunia was quoted as saying. “We would present a statement of objections. That would lead to bans. But I continue to think that the option of an agreement is the best.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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