Google chairman Eric Schmidt will reportedly meet EU antitrust commissioner next week

Google's operations in Europe have been under the close scrutiny of regulators for some time - indeed, for the last four years, authorities there have been investigating antitrust concerns raised by Google's competitors.

The issues under consideration are complex, but the underlying concern is that Google's dominance of the European search market - around 90% of web searches in the EU are carried out on Google - is crushing competition. But more significantly, there have also been allegations that Google has actively engaged in anti-competitive behavior, such as manipulating search results to promote its own services over those offered by third parties.

The CEO of European media giant Axel Springer was one of those who publicly accused Google of unfairly skewing its search results. According to Reuters, executives from Axel Springer, Microsoft and around a dozen other companies have met with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in recent weeks to discuss the situation.

It seems that Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has been summoned to the office of Europe's antitrust chief as well, as the same report claims that he will meet with Vestager in Brussels early next week to discuss matters further.

Whether or not Schmidt plans to offer another proposal to the EU, in an effort to bring the matter to a close, is not yet clear. Google has made numerous proposals to regulators while investigators have been scrutinizing its activities, but each of these has been rejected by the EU.

Google faces a potential fine of up to ten percent of its global revenues if EU regulators find that the company's actions were intended to stifle competition, which could lead to a fine of up to $6.6 billion based on its 2014 sales.

Source: Reuters | Original Eric Schmidt image via

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