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Breaking up Google is just one possible antritrust option, EU lawmakers say

Loek Essers | Nov. 25, 2014
Breaking up Google by separating its search engine from other commercial services is only one of the actions the European Commission could take to resolve the company's antitrust problems, say members of Parliament who are proposing the split.

Another option for resolving Google's antitrust issues is to adopt legal measures that would specifically prevent anticompetitive behavior in search, Tremosa and Schwab said.

It is "essential that competition within the EU is not obstructed by multinational Internet companies that possess a dominant position," Tremosa and Schwab said. Therefore, strong measures are needed against such abuses, they said, inviting Vestager to attend a new hearing on the Google case with all the complainants.

A Commission spokesman said in an email that search engines are key players in the development of a European Digital Single Market. "We are committed to ensuring fair competition in the markets they are active in. Commissioner Vestager will decide on how to take the ongoing antitrust investigations into Google's business practices forward, once she has heard what those most directly affected by the practices in question have to say," the spokesman said.

Google declined to comment. However, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), of which Google is a member, said in a blog post that a breakup could encourage similar proceedings against other companies in the future.

"This motion, especially if passed by Parliament, threatens to undermine the credibility of a long running Commission investigation by blatantly interjecting politics into a legal process," the CCIA said. "Even though this motion is clearly directed at one company, the approach taken in this motion -- and the politics surrounding the Google competition case in general -- has wider implications and threatens the entire Internet economy," it said, adding that it also harms the European economy by limiting its ability to fully harness and benefit from digital innovation and creative enterprises.


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