This Thursday, the European Parliament plans to adopt a non-binding resolution against Google Inc.’s dominant position on the European search engine market. The draft resolution does not specify the name of Google, but, since the famous internet company holds an estimated 90% of the market, it is quite obvious that the act has been specifically catered for it.
In Europe Google faces now an unprecedented tidal wave of mistrust and indignation mainly due to its antitrust practices. One of these practices, covered by the Thursday EU resolution, is how Google blends its free search engine services with its commercial activities.
“Search engines like Google should not be allowed to use their market power to push forward other commercial activities of the same company,”
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German politician, said.
One of the solutions presented in the resolution is splitting the search engine services provided by Google from its moneymaking businesses in Europe.
An official call for Google Inc to revise its business practices would be the most important measure ever taken against the company and a real threat to its business.
Google declined any comments on the issue.
Since the European Parliament has no right to initiate laws and has no legal authority to split corporations, EU Parliament’s resolution calls on the European Comission to take legal action in splitting “search engines from other commercial services” and create a fair competitive environment on the market.
“It’s a strong expression of the fact that things are going to change. The parliament doesn’t bind the commission for sure, but they have to listen,”
Gary Reback, a US lawyer defending companies against Google’s unfair practices, recently said.
Google is also criticized in Europe for not respecting its users’ right to privacy or for evading EU taxes.
German and Spanish MEPs are optimistic and hope the resolution will very likely be adopted.
The draft resolution is the result of a 4-years EU investigation into Google’s business practices.
On November 1, Margrethe Vestager was appointed European Competition Commissioner, after her predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, closed a deal with Google and dropped the case. Mrs Vestager said she would need some more time to analyze all the documents.
Andreas Schwab, German MP, and Ramon Tremosa, Spanish politician, are the ones who proposed the resolution. One of the reasons Germany gets so involved into Google’s monopoly might be the recent diplomatic scandal involving Washington was tracking Angela Merkel’s phone.
Another reason might be the painful past experience of what it meant for an incredibly powerful entity to hold absolute control over personal data during the Nazi and Communist regimes.
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