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Google Sweetens Search-Engine Remedy After EU Pressure

By Sam Schechner and Valentina Pop 

Alphabet Inc.'s Google has bowed to pressure from European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in offering better terms to rival search engines that want to appear on Android phones under a EUR4.3 billion antitrust decision against the tech giant.

Under the new terms, disclosed online earlier this week, Google will effectively charge other search engines less money, and sometimes no money, to appear on a "choice screen" that allows new Android-phone users in Europe to choose a default search engine.

The changes show how Ms. Vestager is taking a tougher stance on the U.S. tech giant, two weeks after she acknowledged that the record fines she has slapped on Google weren't "doing the trick" and that more sweeping remedies are needed.

"We have been discussing the choice screen mechanism with Google," a spokeswoman for Ms. Vestager said. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the online statement, which says the changes were "developed in consultation with the European Commission," the EU's antitrust enforcer, and will take effect in March.

Write to Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com and Valentina Pop at valentina.pop@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 23, 2019 13:02 ET (17:02 GMT)

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