Following a four-year antitrust investigation in the region, the European Parliament has voted to break up Google and separate its search business from the company’s other services.
The Parliament does not have the power to break up Google: its vote in Strasbourg is more of a recommendation to EU member states and the European Commission to break up Google and similar companies involved in search and other digital services. It might also alert regulators to the issue of Google’s monopoly in the European Web search space, where it has a 90 percent market share across searches.
In 2010, some of the company’s rivals alleged that Google favored its own products and services in search results, which prompted the investigation that seems to now have come to a head.
The Parliament’s resolution states that “the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market” and welcomes the Commission’s pledges to investigate further the search engines’ practices.
Furthermore, it urges the Commission “to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines”, stressing the importance of non-discriminatory online search.
It remains to be seen just how Google will react, and what further steps the Parliament and the Commission will take. Google declined to comment on today’s vote.
➤ MEPs zero in on internet search companies and clouds [European Parliament]