Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice-president of products, speaks at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. Technology companies are stepping on telecom toes. Picture: REUTERS
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice-president of products, speaks at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. Technology companies are stepping on telecom toes. Picture: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO — Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet the European Union’s (EU’s) competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Brussels this week, a source familiar with the matter said at the weekend.

European competition officials have been investigating the US tech giant for years over alleged monopolistic practices involving its search engines, but any resolution has been elusive. Three successive proposals by Google for an amicable settlement have been rejected.

Ms Vestager last year sent a "statement of objections". It said Google had diverted traffic from rival price comparison services such as Kelkoo, which operates in several European countries, to favour its own comparison shopping service.

Google responded in late August that Brussels’s findings were incorrect and based on a flawed evaluation of the market. If no agreement is reached and the group is found to have broken the EU’s antitrust rules, it could face fines of billions of dollars.

Mr Pichai is scheduled to be in Brussels on Thursday, where he will meet Ms Vestager, as well as Gunther Oettinger, the EU commissioner for digital economy and society, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Topics to be discussed include the digital single market, as well as digital jobs. Earlier in the week, Mr Pichai will be in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress.

AFP