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European MPs pass motion calling for Google break up

by Mark Tyson on 28 November 2014, 11:35

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), European Commission

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The European Parliament has passed a controversial motion that calls for a possible breakup of Google. This has taken place in spite of the warning of trade consequences from the US, reports the BBC.

Although our European politicians have no direct power to enforce such a breakup, the non-legislative, mostly symbolic landmark vote was passed due to concerns and fears over the dominant internet firm's growing power and possibility that it could abuse its position. Approved by 387 MEPs to 174 in favour of the motion, the results will pressurise the EC to be less agreeable to any European Google initiatives.

The MEPs call on the Commission "to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines," which includes considering proposals with a focus on "unbundling" search functionality from other commercial services, in a bid to reduce the potential of access being exploited. "Indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent," the MEPs concluded.

The motion shows the level of resentment against the American technology giant, as part of an increasingly hostile regulatory environment for US firms in Europe over competition, tax and privacy. Google is responsible for nearly 90 per cent of the general web search market in Europe, and has already been under investigation by the executive arm of the EU for alleged monopoly abuse for using its dominance to suppress competition for several years.

Google's rivals have requested the commission to investigate four areas, according to the report:

  • The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
  • How Google copies content from other websites - such as restaurant reviews - to include within its own services
  • The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
  • Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines

Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat, and Spanish liberal Ramon Tremosa, are the MEPs who brought on the motion. They suggest that the best way to resolve the row would be to separate search engines from other commercial services in order to ensure a level playing field for rivals in Europe.

However, US politicians have come to Mountain View's defence. They warned, in a bipartisan letter, that "this and similar proposals build walls rather than bridges [and] do not appear to give full consideration to the negative effect such policies may have on the broader US-EU trade relationship." Google and its European blog have so far not commented on the vote.



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Google is responsible for nearly 90 per cent of the general web search market in Europe, and has already been under investigation by the executive arm of the EU for alleged monopoly abuse for using its dominance to suppress competition for several years.
So they've been under investigation “for several years” and yet there's no tangible results from that investigation? Sounds suspiciously like the kind of useless jobs-for-the-boys quango that UKIP and the other anti-EU folks have been complaining about.
Google's rivals have requested the commission to investigate four areas, according to the report:

o The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
o How Google copies content from other websites - such as restaurant reviews - to include within its own services
o The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
o Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines
Does anyone seriously expect a company NOT to push their own services instead of the competition? Plain common-sense would surely suggest that you probably don't even want to metion the competition!

I'm also not convinced by point 3 either.

What worries me though is the bullish response by the US - they seem to be going through one of those horrible “flyin' the ole red, white and blue” pseudo-patriotic spells at the moment. Last thing anyone wants or needs is one of those pointless tit-for-tat trade sanction exchanges.

It's going to sound like mealy-mouth Google-fandom, but maybe Google got into the “dangerous” position that they're in because they were offering the best product - whether that's search, mail or whatever. So if the “rivals” had upped their game then perhaps there wouldn't be a desire to shackle Google. Oh, and I think a forced breakup is a pretty daft move. Obviously going on the Yes Minister-stated logic "We need to do something. This is something. Therefore we need to do this"
###### EU.

All they do is bugger things up for everyone else.

All those stupid ‘N’ versions MS had to create of Windows. That ridiculous ‘browser choice’ menu.


Don't like MS?, don't use their products
Don't like Google?, don't use their products

Idiots with nothing better to do.
And who will fill the void if google gets pushed to share, microsoft, like they opened up for others when it came to the browser, you still have to have it on your computer or windows goes boom
The EU parl is a waste of space on tech matters. All they have ensured is that the next tech giant that emerges will not be a European company. If google was expanding into Europe now they would do so in a way that ensured they had no employees in Europe, no servers, no companies so that there was nothing EU law could apply to.

EU is not tackling this based on anti-competition but rabid anti-americanism
Google is responsible for nearly 90 per cent of the general web search market in Europe, and has already been under investigation by the executive arm of the EU for alleged monopoly abuse for using its dominance to suppress competition for several years.


Hmmm, sounds like the EU is after a big pay day from another poor company that happens to have done well.