The European Parliament is set to vote on a proposal to separate Google’s search business away from its other services, representing the latest move in its four year antitrust investigation of the tech giant.
Of course the EU has no real power to actually break up Google’s business units. However, it will certainly send a message to regulators on whether they should be tougher on the American tech company.
Across the US senior politicians have expressed opposition of the proposal, raising concerns about the EU’s commitment to open markets in the way its targeting American technology companies.
Senators Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch and congressmen Dave Camo and Sander Levin, wrote:
“This and similar proposals build walls rather than bridges do not appear to give full consideration to the negative effect such policies may have on the broader US-EU trade relationship,”
Europe’s new commissioner for digital affairs, Guenther Oettinger, has also expressed that he is against the move.
The conflict between Google and the EU has become a significant issue and the vote proposed European Parliament members is the first time the EU parliament will vote on a break-up of a company.
European Parliament members Andreas Schwab, a German conservative, and Ramon Tremosa, said:
“In case the proceedings against Google carry on without any satisfying decisions and the current anti-competitive behavior continues to exist, a regulation of the dominant online web search should be envisaged,”
“In the past, Google has failed to propose adequate remedies to address the Commission’s concerns and continued to pursue its practices unabatedly. It continued thereby to suppress competition to the detriment of European consumers and businesses.”
The commission’s investigations focuses on four areas:
- The way Google displays its own vertical search services in comparison to competing services.
- Google copying content from other websites
- Google’s exclusivity of selling advertising based on search terms people use.
- Restricting advertisers to switch their ad campaigns to other search engines.