Basically, Microsoft’s answer adds no actual obligation for the company, but ships the blame to Google’s HQ:

“Today, Microsoft announced that it’s prepared to meet the Article 29 Working Party’s guidelines for search anonymization but believes it is imperative that all search companies adopt the same standard to truly protect people’s privacy.

We agree with the Article 29 Working Party’s call for a common industry standard for search data anonymization methods and timeframes to help protect people’s privacy. We’ve evaluated the multiple uses of search data and believe that we can, in time, move to a six month timeframe while retaining our strong method of anonymization,“ wrote Peter Cullen, Chief Privacy Strategist at Microsoft.

So, let other (aka Google) make the first step. On one hand, Microsoft may be right. At this time, the Windows maker has a market share of only 2% in Europe.

Even if Microsoft would eventually acquire Yahoo Share (and the deal seems more possible than ever at this time), this would only serve to double the company’s current market share. Truth be told, 4% against Google’s 80%. However, Microsoft could very well try to set an example and steal the lead from Google, the company known to set the online trends. Then again, one should at least desire to become a leader in order to be able to act as one.

In the mean time, Google is still silent to as far as the European question is concerned…