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Google Inc (GOOGL), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Tech Giant Will Still Be Under Formal Probe

Financial Times brought up the announcement made by Joaquín Almunia, the outgoing EU competition commissioner, that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will still be under a formal probe. This case could be bigger than Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s one, which ended in $2 billion fines for the software manufacturer.

Google GOOG

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been accused of rigging search results, presenting its own offers as being more important, higher ranked on the results web-pages, than the ones its competitors proposed. There is no previous antitrust case that attracted as many complaints as the search engine developer did. The 20 in its repertoire feature also accusations from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

This case is peculiarly interesting as Mr. Almunia tried to pursue a settlement before any fines would have been administered, but then he rejected three formal offers from the tech titan. He seemed to remain unconvinced in the fact that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has actually started a fair-game policy towards competition. The latest details to shift the commissioner’s decision came from the company’s rivals, which presented evidence and legal argument against the supposedly fairer display of search results.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s case lasted in total 16 years, roughly four times longer than the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) investigation has taken, but there seem to be more issues for the latter company. Margrethe Vestager, former Danish economy minister, will take charge of the director for competition in November, when Joaquín Almunia is going to step down. In the meantime, there’s the possibility of a fourth offer being presented to the new antitrust chief, who might seek support to reach the settlement or proceed to issuing a formal charge sheet.

So far, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not faced any charges concerning legal wrongdoings and it has not paid any fines. Nevertheless, the story might have no happy ending as the company remains closely examined by the regulators.

Disclosure: none