Google a Monopoly? Euro Commissioners think so. . .
In a bid to combat Google’s online dominance, the European parliament is reportedly going to call for the company to be broken up into separate businesses. The official vote takes place next week.
Google has long found itself tied up in European investigations. Currently, the firm is involved in an antitrust investigation into its Android operating system, along with the ongoing case regarding its dominance in the search engine market, which was originally set to close in summer this year.
Europe could take drastic measures in a bid to put an end to this ongoing case, with a leak suggesting that a motion to break up the company could be on the agenda.
A draft motion seen by The Financial Times, which reportedly has support from Europe’s two largest political parties, says that an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services” should be considered as a potential solution to Google’s dominance.
It also calls for an end to Google’s “illegal and discriminatory treatment” with the aim of restoring “competition in the online marketplace.”
However, the report notes that the European parliament has no authority to force the break-up of a company such as Google, but that it is able to influence the European Commission, which determines new legislation.
One of the motion’s supporters, a Spanish MEP, told the website that it is necessary to consider this as a long-term solution because the Commission could not “ask [for] the secret of [Google’s] algorithm.”
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said that she will listen to Google and its various critics before deciding how to go forward with an antitrust inquiry.
“The issues at stake in our investigations have a big potential impact on many players; they are multifaceted and complex. I will therefore need some time to decide on the next steps,” she said at a hearing in Brussels.
Google declined to comment on the report, but The Financial Times has heard that executives at the company are “furious” at the motion.
A vote on the motion is expected to take place in European Parliament next Thursday.
This article was originally published in the Inquirer.
European Commissioners for Competition (Margrethe Vestager), for Digital Economy and Society (Günther Oettinger), and for Digital Single Market (Andrus Ansip).
The general view is that Google will try to deflect any trouble by – for instance – giving Android users the ability to use Bing as their search engine or setting Yahoo as the default search engine for the Chrome browser.
Watch out for eyeGoogle.