According to a report released today, the European Parliament is reportedly calling for Google separate search from the rest of its service offerings.
The motion specifically calls for an “unbundling” of Google’s search engine from its other services as a way to curb Google’s dominance. This is being supported by Europe’s two main political parties, the European People’s Party and the Socialists.
This motion originated from concerns that Google’s tremendous reach has the potential to stifle competition. However, the European Parliament doesn’t have the power to break up companies.
There is a precedent for this type of case in the United States. In the 90s Microsoft was challenged by US regulators over bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with its Windows operating system. In the end, the US government chose not to force Microsoft to split its operating system from its browser.
For years the European Commission has been investing allegations against Google that the company favors its own products and services over those offered by competitors in search results.
A settlement in February saw Google agreeing to display its own services in search results exactly as it would for competitors. This particular case is still under investigation and the agreement has yet to be finalized.
Neither Google or the European Commission have responded to requests for comments from media outlets, nor have they made any public comments of their own regarding the call to split Google Search from the rest of the company’s services.
A vote in Parliament is expected to take place on Thursday, at which point I will update this story with new information if any becomes available.