Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has apologised to Europe’s industry chief Thierry Breton over a leaked internal document proposing tactics to counter the EU’s tough new rules on internet companies and lobby against the EU commissioner.
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 attack the European Union’s push for the new rules by getting US 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. “I was not surprised. I’m not naive. I thought it was a bit old fashioned…,” Breton told the Anglo-American Press Association in a online meeting on Friday, waving the document in the air.
“In any case, yes I had a discussion with Sundar… I told him what I had to tell him….he apologised. (I told him) If you need to tell me something, my door will always be open,” he said. Pichai apologised for the way the document came out, which he said he had not seen or sanctioned, 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.