European MPs want to break Google up from its search engine

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A vote in the European Parliament asks Google to break off its search engine from other services it offers.

BBC News reports that the European Parliament is looking to break Google up into separate companies.

A vote in the European Parliament voted in favour of breaking up the behemoth multinational corporation because it favours its own services in search results.

The politicians don't actually have any say in breaking the company up, but the vote does send out a message to regulators to enforce tougher measures on Google's methods.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is whom the decision lays with, as she has taken over the anti-competitive case brought about by Google's rivals in 2010.

Google's rivals asked the commission to investigate four areas of Google, as the company holds about 90% market share for search results in Europe. Those four areas are:

  • The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
  • How Google copies content from other websites - such as restaurant reviews - to include within its own services
  • The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
  • Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines

Before Vestager took over, Joaquin Almunia attempted to settle the case, but failed. Almunia suggested the only way to settle was to issue a fine which could reach $5 billion, following a number of concessions made by Google.

Separating Google's search engines from its other commercial services, to promote a fairer environment for rivals in Europe, was brought forward by Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat, and Roman Tremosa, a Spanish liberal.

If a break up of this kind were to get through, it would be the first of its kind as the commission has never ordered the break-up of a company before.

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