Google antitrust case: New EU competition chief wants fresh talks with complainants

Europe’s last antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, couldn’t settle his department’s four-year case against Google, keen though he was to do so. Now the new European Commission is in place, his successor, Margrethe Vestager, has said she wants to meet with “those most directly affected” by Google’s anticompetitive practices. That would include vertical search engines such as Yelp and Foundem, publishers and consumer rights groups. “We are talking about fast moving markets – I have to be sure that we have all the facts up to date to get it right,” Vestager said in a Tuesday statement. “The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players… I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps.”

EU regulators give conditional approval to Telefonica’s E-Plus takeover

Telefonica’s takeover of KPN’s German carrier E-Plus has moved closer to finalization after the European Commission gave its blessing on Wednesday. However, the Commission’s approval is highly conditional – because the merger will reduce the number of network-owning German operators to three, Telefonica would need to sell 30 percent of the merged company’s network capacity to small virtual operators. It would also need to sell a new player some of its spectrum and other assets, and offer wholesale 4G services to “all interested players,” in order to preserve competition in the German market.