The trouble seems to never cease for Google in Europe — at least in the legal sense. The company has been plagued by probe after probe, multiple antitrust lawsuits, and ongoing investigations into its privacy practices. European regulators have long had their eyes on a company believed by many to be a monopoly — Google does represent 90% of the E.U.’s search engine market — not to mention one that has violated user rights in several ways. The latest push comes from two regulators who seek to break up the search giant in a move that would certainly be the most drastic measure taken against the company yet.
A European Parliament bid for legislation that would split up Google stems primarily from Andreas Schwab and Ramon Tremosa, who were careful to issue statements on Monday that tone down their aggressive stance towards Google’s operations in Europe. Schwab, a German Christian Democrat lawmaker in the European Parliament, and Tremosa, a Spanish liberal, unveiled a draft of their resolution last week, according to Reuters. They emphasized their demand that search engines be regulated separately from other commercial services in order to ensure a level playing field for rivals in Europe. The “break up” of Google would require that the search engine arm of the company become separate from its other services in order to comply with this new legislation.
In a joint statement on Monday, the lawmakers said:
Tremosa and Schwab are not ideological against Google! We are against monopolies…Unbundling is one of the ideas but we proposed several ideas of solutions that are on the table including a ‘rotation mechanism'(and) legislation on search engines.
It’s been somewhat of a rough year for the search giant in the European Union. Google has wrestled with the influx of requests for content removal after the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten” mandate passed earlier this year as a result of a case between the internet company and the Spanish data protection authority. Whether or not European regulators will go through with an extreme measure like breaking up the search engine remains to be seen. But the fact that it has been brought to table demonstrates the attitudes of many in Europe and the general confrontational vibe the continent has towards the Mountain View-based company.
The vote on breaking up Google is scheduled for Thursday. Analysts doubt whether European entities have the power — or the votes — to make this happen. But given how harsh Google has found the terrain of European regulation thus far, its forced disaggregation is not out of the question.