Incoming EU antitrust chief: Google probe won't end overnight

The new European antitrust chief needs time to evaluate the case, calling the stakes having a "big potential impact" on those involved — and not just the search giant.

Europe's new antitrust boss, Margrethe Vestager, at a hearing in October. Image: European Commission

Europe's new antitrust chief isn't taking the ongoing Google probe lightly, but won't rush it, she said in remarks on Tuesday.

Despite the investigation now in its fourth year, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said just two weeks on the job that it will take time to consider the next step. 

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Her comments come just weeks after her outgoing predecessor reneged a proposed settlement with the search giant, essentially putting any end in sight on ice.

According to Reuters, Vestager said she would take a sample of views from those involved in the case and "check on the latest developments in the sector" before making her move.

"The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players, they are multifaceted and complex. I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps," Vestager told members of the European Parliament in a hearing in Brussels.

Former antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, who left his post after a four-year tenure on November 1, had been back and forth with Google for years in an effort to resolve issues relating to the company's alleged business practices, which allows it to lead the market.

However, after three rounds of concessions, Almunia rejected the offer, falling in Microsoft and others' favor.

Though Google's rivals wanted matters of data protection and privacy considered as part of the case, Vestager said she will focus entirely on matters of competition.

Should Google be found in breach of Europe's antitrust or competition rules, it could be fined up to 10 percent of its global revenue for the infringing years.