Google CEO to meet with EU antitrust chief on Friday

November 16, 2016 2:39 PM EST

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

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By Foo Yun Chee and Julia Love

(Reuters) - The chief executive of Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google and the European Union's antitrust chief will meet on Friday, following the U.S. technology group's formal rejection this month of a spate of charges, including blocking rivals in online search advertising.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will meet in Brussels with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Guenther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, as the final stop in a short tour of the continent, spokespeople for Google and the EU confirmed.

Last week, Google General Counsel Kent Walker argued that the company's Android operating system helps competition, rebutting charges that the firm uses the platform to crush rivals. The Mountain View, Calif., company also rejected charges that it unfairly promoted its shopping service and blocked rivals in online search advertising.

EU regulators are expected to rule next year on those issues, potentially ordering Google to change its business practices and levying huge fines. The case has hung over Google since the European Commission opened its investigation six years ago, following complaints from Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) and other rivals.

The Android case poses a keen risk to Google as the operating system has yielded about $22 billion in profit for the company since its release in 2008, an Oracle Corp lawyer told a U.S. court in January.

Pichai last met with Vestager and Oettinger in February, shortly after he was named chief executive of Google.

During a visit to London earlier this week, Pichai announced an expansion of Google's presence in the city, saying he was optimistic about Britain's future as a tech hub, despite the uncertainty caused by the nation's vote to leave the European Union in June.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Julia Love; Editing by Marguerita Choy)



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