Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to meet the European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to discuss a series of charges levelled against his company. Through last month the technology giant had rejected all charges against it including that of using its monopoly in the market against rivals.
The meeting between the two is set to be the first since February after which Vestager had announced the investigation against Google in April. EU's investigation had concluded that Google had denied consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stood in the way of innovation by other players, which is a breach of EU antitrust rules.
Responding to the allegations specifically made against Android, Google's mobile OS, the company's senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker had argued some days ago that the Android operating system helps competition rather than crush its rivals.
"Any phone maker can download Android and modify it in any way they choose. But that flexibility makes Android vulnerable to fragmentation, a problem that plagued previous operating systems like Unix and Symbian," said Walker in a blog post. "When anyone can modify your code, how do you ensure there's a common, consistent version of the operating system, so that developers don't have to go through the hassle and expense of building multiple versions of their apps? To manage this challenge, we work with hardware makers to establish a minimum level of compatibility among Android devices."
The company has also refuted allegations that it abused its dominance to promote its shopping service and a niche advertising product.
These antitrust charges have been lingering on against Google for the last six years since rivals like Microsoft first complained about the company's practices. Following lengthy investigations and the upcoming dialogue between Pichai and Vestager EU regulators are expected to rule next year on whether Google is guilty of misconduct as alleged. If found guilty Google may be forced to change its existing business practices in the EU region and pay a hefty fine for each of the charges levelled against it, say experts.