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February 25, 2015

Google chairman to meet with EU antitrust chief

Margrethe Vestager’s first meeting with Google execs over antitrust case.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google chairman Eric Schmidt is expected to meet European Union (EU) antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to discuss an ongoing four-year-old antitrust investigation against the search giant in the region.

Google has been accused of abusing its dominant position in the EU by promoting its own services over others, and by preventing advertisers from using other search engines.

The company tried to settle the dispute by offering the companies to display paid-for links next to its own in boxes near search results, but the plaintiffs including Microsoft and Expedia, rejected the offer.

German publisher Axel Springer, TripAdvisor and several other price comparison sites in Poland and Britain have also accused the search giant of abusing its position.

Reuters cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that the meeting between Schmidt and Vestager is expected to take place in Brussels early next week.

Previously EU lawmakers asked regulators to separate the company’s search engine from the rest of its business in order to break the monopoly of the giant in the region.

The EU has warned Google to modify its proposal and settle its antitrust issues or face fine of up to 10% of the its global revenue, which could be around $6bn.

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