Google Gets Even More Time to Answer to EU Antitrust Charges

Google Inc. got an additional two weeks to prepare its response to the European Union’s antitrust complaint accusing the Internet giant of abusing its dominance of the search-engine market.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority, gave Google until Aug. 31 to respond to the so-called statement of objections sent in April. The Mountain View, California-based company, initially was supposed to submit a filing in July before getting a previous six-week extension.

The case is part of a nearly five-year-old probe into allegations the company favors its own services over those of rivals in search-engine results. The investigation has resulted in three failed settlement bids, which continually ran into heated opposition.

“Google requested additional time to reply to the SO. In line with normal practice, the commission analyzed the reasons for the request,” Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for the Brussels-based commission said Thursday. “As a result, it has granted an extension allowing Google to fully exercise its rights of defense.”

The latest delay, during a month when most EU officials, including Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, are on holiday, is unlikely to have much of an effect on the overall timetable for the resolution of the case.

In addition to the written filing, Google has the option of seeking an oral hearing attended by EU officials and representatives from companies that filed the initial complaints to regulators.