EU lawmakers urge regulators to break up Google

Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:06pm EST
 
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By Foo Yun Chee and Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a motion on Thursday urging anti-trust regulators to break up Google, the latest setback for the world's most popular Internet search engine.

Google has been in the EU's regulatory sights since 2010, and is also grappling with privacy issues, requests to scrub search results to comply with a court ruling, copyright concerns and tax controversies.

The non-binding resolution in the European Parliament is the strongest public signal yet of Europe's concern with the growing power of U.S. tech giants. It was passed with 384 votes for and 174 against.

German conservative lawmaker and co-sponsor of the bill Andreas Schwab said it was a political signal to the European Commission, which is tasked with ensuring a level playing field for business across the 28-country bloc.

"Monopolies in whatever market have never been useful, neither for consumers nor for the companies," he said.

Schwab said he had nothing against Google and was a regular user. "I use Google every day," he said.

Google declined to comment. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said she will review the case and talk to complainants before deciding on the next step.

Her predecessor rejected three attempts by the company to settle complaints that it unfairly demoted rival services and stave off a possible fine of up to $5 billion.   Continued...

 
People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Google logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic