The EU has Google in its sights

by 26 Mar, 2018

The European Union says it holds “grave suspicions” about Google’s dominance of the marketplace and has not ruled out breaking it up, to limit the damage to its competition. European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said over the weekend that the threat to split Google into smaller companies must be kept alive. 

The bloc has had Google and other top techs in its crosshairs for years, unveiling a new strategy on taxing them earlier this month. The firms share price has been slipping since mid-March anyway, but if the EU go ahead with the move it could signal more downward pressure.

The Danish commissioner also hit google with a record fine – £2.1 billion in June 2017, for giving its comparison shopping service an illegal advantage in search results. Given that Google has a 91.5 percent share of the search engine market in Europe, it’s no wonder authorities are concerned with its influence over the European markets.

Vestager said: “There is no ban on success in Europe. You get to be dominant and you get a special responsibility that you don’t destroy the already weakened competition.” She added: “We have proven their dominance in search and we have found they have misused this dominance to promote themselves and diminish competitors.”

Whether a message of ‘fair play’ can get through to Google, or Amazon, or any of the other American giants is unclear. Amazon have already decimated retailers across the US, and even a hint of them entering a new sector like healthcare can reap havoc on the share prices of pharmaceutical companies who would become their rivals. Similarly, Google is a powerhouse of online advertising and dominates its respective spheres of influence, but with that much power, comes responsibility, a value the EU is clearly hoping to instil.

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