Earlier this week I reported on a story about European Parliament wanting to break up, or “unbundle”, Google search from the rest of its services.
The vote was held today and EU Parliament voted in favor of the motion to break up Google, with 384 legislators for the motion, 174 against, and 56 abstaining from voting.
Even though the motion was passed, EU Parliament does not have the power to actually put it into effect, that’s up to the European Commission. The most EU Parliament can hope to achieve with this vote is to put more pressure on the Commission to take a firm stance against Google.
If you read EU Parliament’s official statement on the vote you’ll notice it never once mentions Google by name, but since Google holds over 90% of the search market in Europe it is clearly the company that would be most affected by this motion.
You may be wondering how it even got to this point — what does EU Parliament have against Google?
EU Parliament states that it stems from the “need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions.” In order to prevent such abuse, EU Parliament is calling on the European Commission to “unbundle search engines from other commercial services.”
European politicians are of the opinion that Google’s position as a market leader may pose a threat to the digital economy. They argue fair access to information and online products is not possible since Google has influence over how search results are displayed.
This is yet another example EU trying to impose legislation on Google, having passed “right to be forgotten” earlier this year. This is a stark contrast to how Google is treated by lawmakers in the United States, with a recent court ruling declaring Google has every right to display search results however it wants.
US senators and congressmen even attempted to intervene in EU Parliament’s vote by sending letters expressing their concern over the proposal to break up Google.
With the vote being passed there is now significant pressure on the EU Commission to act, which means we have certainly not heard the last of this story. I will be sure to update with more details if and when they become available.