This past Thursday, the European Parliament got together to pass a resolution that could have major ramifications for the US software-giant Google. The resolution seeks to “unbundle” Google’s search engine from its other commercial enterprises in an effort to stop major search engine providers abusing their positions of power.
Aimed at Google?
Google may not have been mentioned by name, but it was clear who the Parliament’s ire was aimed toward when they convened for the vote. Members voted 384 to 174, including 56 abstentions, to ratify the bill. It is hoped the new rules will help tech growth and competition flourish across the European region.
The votes calls upon the commission “to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services in the long run.”
Aside from setting out new outlines for search engines, the European Parliament also approved new fast-tracking telecoms rules and cloud computing standards. These changes, once they come into full effect, could help European countries bring in an additional €260 billion annually, the EU claim.
Will Google tow the line?
It is worth clarifying however, that the vote is not enforceable, meaning regulators don’t have the power to actually force Google to splinter its services. What it does mean, is the EU can now ask Google the hard questions, taking it task for what it perceives to be unfair practices. If they wish, they can even saddle Google with antitrust investigations and eventually put the software company in a position where it has no choice but to change its European business practices. In short, the EU Parliament is now well within its rights to kick up a stink, forcing Google to tow the line.
Google currently hold a monopoly on the European search market, controlling 90% of services, including shopping, mapping and more. Not only that, it’s also the controlling force behind Android, the web browser of choice for consumers surfing the web on their smartphones and tablets in the region.
Google have yet to comment on the new measures, but we’re sure they, like the rest of us, are keen to see what further measure the EU Parliament will take.