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European Parliament passes vote asking for Google to be broken up

James Trew , @itstrew
11.27.14
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Earlier this week, there were reports that the European Parliament would recommend that Google search be split off from other parts of the business. Today, the Parliament has passed a vote the effectively confirms that intention. More specifically, the vote states "The online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market", calling on the European Commission "To prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines". Note, that this doesn't just apply to Google, but potentially any search engine provider. With the motion stressing "the need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions" and the recommendation of "unbundling search engines from other commercial services." The European Parliament doesn't have the authority to command member states take action, rather it serves as a strong message to regulators and policy makers that can. Google has declined to comment.

The notion was passed with a majority of 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions. The same text also covered net neutrality (as promised, with MEPs voting in favor of all internet traffic being treated equally), and another call for the abolishment of cellphone roaming charges (between EU operators). The European Parliament believes that a single digital economy in the EU could be worth as much as €260 billion extra a year, but clearly thinks that Google's dominance in the market could threaten that.

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