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Google Needs to Give EU Better Data, Says Antitrust Chief

March 7, 2016, 3:59 PM UTC
European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager of Denmark attends her hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels, on October 2, 2014. AFP Photo/Thierry Charlier. (Photo credit should read THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Thierry Charlier — AFP/Getty Images

The European Union’s top antitrust official doesn’t sound very happy with the information Google (GOOG) has so far given her after she charged the company with violating competition law.

“Google gave us a very substantial answer, and what we need to do is ask them for more data to have a comprehensive picture so they aren’t just giving us data that solely substantiates their position,” competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a New York Times interview.

It is now just under 11 months since the European Commission issued a so-called statement of objections against Google, alleging that it has abused its position (it holds over 90% of the EU search market) to favor its own comparison shopping services.

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The company stands accused of boosting the prominence of its own service’s results over that of its rivals by displaying its own comparison shopping service at the top of its search results pages.

Google is now in the process of defending itself and trying to ward off sanctions by the commission that would force it to change its ways. Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Vestager last month, with the case being a likely topic of conversation.

The commission is also investigating many other complaints against Google, notably to do with its control over the Android ecosystem and the way in which it operates in the ad industry. However, so far it has only issued charges over the comparison-shopping issue.

For more on the antitrust suit, watch:

Vestager described that case as a “huge task” for her directorate. A spokesman for the department declined to say which data it was that Google wasn’t offering up to Vestager’s liking, nor when the case was likely to see some kind of resolution.

A Google spokesman had not replied to a request for comment at the time of writing.