Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologises for document, EU's Thierry Breton warns internet is not Wild West

Sundar Pichai and Breton exchanged views in a video-conference call late on Thursday, the third this year, according to a statement from the European Commission. The call came after a Google internal document outlined a 60-day strategy to counter...

BCCL
BRUSSELS: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has apologised to Europe's industry chief Thierry Breton over a leaked internal document proposing ways to counter the EU's tough new rules for technology companies.

Pichai and Breton exchanged views in a video-conference call late on Thursday, the third this year, according to a statement from the European Commission.

"The Internet cannot remain a 'Wild West': we need clear and transparent rules, a predictable environment and balanced rights and obligations," Breton told Pichai.


The call came after a Google internal document outlined a 60-day strategy to counter the European Union's push for the new rules by getting U.S. allies to push back against Breton.

The call was initiated by Google before the document was leaked.

Breton brought up the leaked document and showed it to Pichai during the call and said that there was no need to use old century tactics and to play one unit at the Commission against another, a person familiar with the call said.
ADVERTISEMENT

Pichai apologised for the way the document came out, a paper which he had not seen nor signed off, saying that he would engage directly with Breton if he sees language and policy that specifically targets Google, another person familiar with the call said.

Google said the two had a frank but open conversation.

"Our online tools have been a lifeline to many people and businesses through lockdown, and Google is committed to continuing to innovate and build services that can contribute to Europe's economic recovery post-COVID," spokesman Al Verney said in a statement.

The incident underlines the intense lobbying by tech companies against the proposed EU rules, which could impede their businesses and force changes in how they operate.
ADVERTISEMENT

Breton will announce new draft rules known as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act together with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Dec. 2.

The rules will set out a list of do's and don'ts for gatekeepers - online companies with market power - forcing them to share data with rivals and regulators and not to promote their services and products unfairly.
ADVERTISEMENT

"The Internet cannot remain a 'Wild West': we need clear and transparent rules, a predictable environment and balanced rights and obligations," Breton told Pichai.

"Everything that is allowed offline should be authorised online; and everything that is forbidden offline should be banned online," he said.

Breton told Pichai that he would increase the EU's power to curb unfair behaviour by gatekeeping platforms, so that the Internet doesn't just benefit a handful of companies but also Europe's small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs.

"Europe's position is clear: everyone is welcome on our continent - as long as they respect our rules," he told Pichai.
Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+