EU’s Antitrust Head To Meet Tech CEOs Next Week

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.  European Commission

Margrethe Vestager to met Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, Jensen Huang etc to discuss EU digital regulation and competition policy

European antitrust officials are next week to meet with the CEOs of a number of big name tech firms, amid an increasing number of European laws and regulations for the tech sector.

Reuters reported that EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager will meet the chief executives of Apple, Alphabet, Broadcom and Nvidia in the United States next week.

The meetings come a month after Vestager resumed her job following her failed bid to head the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.  European Commission
Margrethe Vestager.  European Commission

CEO meetings

Reuters, citing the communications adviser of Vestager, reported that antitrust experts are expecting her to show a tougher line towards companies in both merger and competition investigations.

Vestager will reportedly meet Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and its chief legal officer Kent Walker, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in San Francisco and Palo Alto on Thursday and Friday.

She will also meet OpenAI Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati and its Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon.

The meetings will reportedly focus on European digital regulation and competition policy.

Antitrust investigations

The meeting with Tim Cook comes after Apple in December offered to open its tap-to-pay technology in iPhones to competitors following an antitrust investigation by European Union officials.

The move to open Apple Wallet to others was made in the hopes of settling Vestager’s investigation and stave off a possible hefty fine.

The European Commission however is likely to seek feedback from rivals and customers this month.

That said a final decision has not been made, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

Meanwhile Vestager’s meeting with Alphabet on 11 January is the same day an adviser to Europe’s top court is scheduled to offer a non-binding recommendation on whether judges should accept or reject Alphabet unit Google’s appeal against a 2.42-billion-euro ($2.6 billion) EU antitrust fine imposed for market abuse related to its shopping service.

It was back in 2017, when the European Commission had fined Google 2.42bn euros ($2.6bn) after it ruled that Google had thwarted rivals of its shopping comparison service.

In February 2020 Google began its appeal against the 2.42 billion euro penalty, but in November 2021 Google lost when the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg dismissed the Google appeal of the antitrust fine.

In September 20023 Google began its last-ditch effort at Europe’s top court (the Court of Justice of the European Union or CJEU) to overturn the EU antitrust fine.