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Google Complaint Said to Be Reviewed by EU as Soon as Next Week

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s antitrust chief will review a draft complaint against Google Inc. as soon as next week, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, will make a decision on whether to proceed with a case against Google after he sees the so-called statement of objections, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is confidential. Almunia, who has previously described the document as a report, would be able to quickly send it out as a formal complaint.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, is under growing pressure from global antitrust agencies probing whether the company is thwarting competition in the market for Web searches. While Microsoft Corp. and partner Yahoo! Inc. have about a quarter of the U.S. Web-search market, Google has almost 95 percent of the traffic in Europe, Microsoft said in a blog post last year, citing data from regulators.

The EU is investigating claims Google discriminated against other services in its search results and stopped some websites from accepting rival ads. Microsoft Corp. and shopping-comparison site Foundem are among companies that asked for a review of Google’s actions.

A spokesman for Google in Brussels declined to immediately comment. The EU’s press office also wasn’t immediately able to comment.

Almunia has said he will decide next month on whether “investigations are advanced enough” after he sees what he described as a report on the case. He said he would then decide on the EU’s concerns and communicate them to Google.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

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

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