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Hollande meets Google chief amid bill dispute

(Xinhua)

09:26, October 30, 2012

PARIS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande met with Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt on Monday after the search engine giant threatened to exclude French media sites from its search results if it is forced to pay for content.

According to a statement posted on the Elysee website, Hollande said during the meeting that he hoped negotiations between Google and news publishers could start quickly and be concluded by the end of the year.

"The dialogue and negotiation between partners seemed the best way. But if necessary, a law could be passed on this issue," the president said.

Last month, France's main newspaper publishers called on the government to impose a law aimed at forcing search engines to pay commissions to French media websites.

Protesting the proposed law, Google threatened to stop linking to French media websites, angering the socialist government.

After the meeting, Hollande also "noted the commitments of Mr. Schmidt to strengthen the presence of Google in France mainly through support to the digital development of small- and medium-sized firms and the establishment of Paris Cultural Institute."

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