Breaking up Google is not what we want: EU lawmakers

Online media was awash with headlines today about European Union lawyers backing a move to break up Google, but EU officials clarified that singling out the search giant was not what they intended.

Google has been in the crosshairs of EU regulators since 2010 and the company also faces privacy issues in the region – most recently involving privacy and requests to scrub search results. Google holds more than 90 per cent of the Internet search market share in some European countries and is grappling copyright issues and tax controversies as well.

On Thursday, EU lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to back a motion urging anti-trust regulators to “unbundle search engines from other commercial services.”

Although the motion passed 384 to 174, the motion is non-binding and did not actually mention Google by name.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Gunther Oettinger, EU digital economy commissioner also said he didn’t think that breaking up Google “is what we can expect.”

In fact the vote does not have any legal value, according to Axelle Lemaire, secretary of state for digital affairs, of France. She said it “simply expresses the wish” of the lawmakers.

The spokesperson for Google in Brussels, did not issue any comment.

Google is also facing an anti-trust probe. A settlement to the case was delayed due to negative feedback from rivals. Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief she will decide whether the probe continues after she has talked with companies affected by Google’s business practices.

Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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