Google chairman to meet with EU chief over antitrust case

European flag

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt will meet with Europe's competition boss next week to decide how best to move forward with a long-running antitrust investigation into the search giant.

A number of large corporations, including Microsoft and German publisher Axel Springer, Expedia, TripAdvisor and price comparison engines in the UK and Poland have filed claims against the search giant accusing it of abusing its dominance position in the continent to win customers.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has met with some of the complainants to get their opinion on the matter and two anonymous sources told Reuters she will present this evidence to Schmidt next week.

Google could be fined up to 10 per cent of its global revenues if the EU find it guilty of breaching EU competition rules. Based on the company's 2014 sale figures, that could be as much as $6.6bn (4.7bn).

Google has been embroiled in a number of antitrust cases of late. Yesterday, a case brought forward by two consumers was quashed by a US judge. They felt competition was unfair in the US because customers don't have a choice when it comes to having Google apps preinstalled on Android devices.

US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled: "Their alleged injuries - supra-competitive prices and threatened loss of innovation and consumer choice - are not the necessary means by which the defendant is allegedly accomplishing its anti-competitive ends."

Additionally, Russian search engine Yandex is also taking action against Google, saying it's unfair smartphone manufacturers are blocking its services because they are told they must preinstalled Google apps as default on their Android devices.

This top secret meeting between Google's CEO and the EU may well put an end to such actions in Europe, but this won't stop those in other regions complaining against the tech giant's alleged tactics.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.