Sundar Pichai To Meet With EU Antitrust Chief Again

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Google's track record with antitrust authorities isn't great. Authorities worldwide are either investigating Google, pressing formal charges, or negotiating fines, even in the search giant's homeland. The current top brass at Google are hoping to change that somehow, and have been working toward that goal. Current Google CEO Sundar Pichai, for instance, met with EU competition commissioner Margarethe Vestager soon after being appointed CEO, and he's going to be shaking her hand again on Friday. This time around, however, it will be amid even more formal charges lobbied against Google, and heavy investigation into Android being underway. Naturally, Vestager will have Guenther Oettinger, the EU's commissioner of digital economy and society, at the meeting with her in Brussels.

This comes shortly after Google officially denied charges brought against them by Vestager's administration regarding ways that their Android OS squashes competition. Their rebuttal boiled down to the wealth of choice inherent in Android, and the fact that Google does not force manufacturers to do anything just to use Android, nor is a given device noncompetitive in the market without the Play Store, which requires Google's app suite to be installed, among other stipulations. Given the fact that Oracle earned themselves a sanction request by revealing that Android has gotten Google some $22 billion in profit since its inception, the possible fines in this case could put some serious stress on Google's cash reserves, and perhaps even force them to cut back a bit on spending.

Google is also being charged by the EU over their shopping service treating some products unfairly in their listings compared to sponsored products, to which Google answered that their algorithm is based mainly on user popularity, with a number of other factors playing a smaller role. They contended that while giving Google a bit of cash to have your product bumped up is a thing, it has far less impact than the EU is implying, and certainly cannot be used to bury competing products and services. The EU commission is expected to issue an official verdict on both cases some time in the next year or so, and Google's rebuttals mean that the most intense portion of the cases is just about to start. This means that Pichai's goodwill visit couldn't have come at a better time.

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