European Parliament votes to break up Google

An exercise in futility? European Parliament votes to 'debundle' the search giant but doesn't have the power to do so

The European Parliament has voted in favour of breaking up a Google, claiming that it gives preference to its commercial services in search results.

The vote was something of a circus act as the European Parliament has no power to enforce any kind of break-up, but the vote has put a spotlight on the issue. With a 90% market share for search in Europe and an increasing number of commercial products and services on offer, MEPs are concerned that Google’s dominance is smothering the potential for innovation.

While the European Parliament does not have the power to break-up the tech giant, the EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager potentially does. Vestager inherited an on-going anti-competitive case against Google lodged in 2010 and MEPs hope it will force the commissioner to take action.

Senior US politicians have expressed outrage over the motion. Prior to the vote, a bipartisan letter from the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee was released, warning: “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.”

 

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