European lawyers are going to vote on Thursday (27 November) on a proposal that proposes breaking up Google as well as other giant Internet technology companies.
This is also expected to increase political pressure on antitrust regulators to take more decisive steps in order to tame the search tycoon. The EU Parliament does not have powers to dismember the company but the vote is still considered important in the discourse on the U.S. dominance of the Internet industry. Thursday vote is thus also described as a major challenge to Google’s operations in Europe.
Two lawmakers at the EU Parliament have revealed a draft of their work on the resolution last week saying that dividing search engines from other commercial services would make sure that Google’s rivals can also have their say. EU politicians and a number of competing firms have complained that Google’s eminence allows the company to promote its own services at the expense of competitors. Google’s opponents have also touched upon a few other problematic areas such as taxes and privacy policies. The California-based company has commented that it constantly faces fierce competition which is a result of a rapidly changing market.
If the proposal to the Commission is passed, it will put more pressure on new EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, to be more resolute when it comes to dealing with complaints against Google. Joaquin Almunia, Ms Vestager’s predecessor, predominantly dealt with investigations against Microsoft. If passed, it will also be also the first time in the EU history that Brussels will order the break-up of a company on the grounds of competitive practices.
Opponents of the EU’s struggle to deal with Google, however, point out, that threatening companies like Google is a loser’s debate, because large Internet companies are in fierce competition among themselves. In particular, the United States doesn’t seem to like the European Parliament’s proposed breakup of Google, with the U.S. Mission to the European Union pointing out that antitrust issues should not be “politicized.”