Europe seems to be heading in a weird direction lately, starting with the right to be forgotten debacle and ending with today’s Parliament vote to break up Google’s business between search and the rest of the company’s products.
Following numerous long-winded investigations into Google’s search practices by the EU’s antitrust authorities, the Parliament voted today for a radical solution: divide Google in two – and supposedly all other similar entities- an independent search company and another company to handle all the other products.
Google has a pretty obvious monopolistic position inside the EU with the American company accounting for a reported 90% of web searches on the continent. And back in 2010 its competitors complained to the EU that the search giant was favoring its own products in search results, which had led to the above mentioned investigation.
However the Parliament doesn’t actually have the power to enforce such a radical step. Rather this vote is more like an encouragement towards the European Commission, who does have such power, to keep this possibility open for the long term.
Washington has already come out against such a move by the EU and there’s little doubt that Google will try to fight and appease the parties involved. We’ll have to wait and see if the Commission is serious about implementing such a move, which could be disastrous in many ways, or if it’s simply playing a hard game of poker with Google.