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Political scrutiny on Google continues to grow in Europe
- The European Parliament adopted a report which recommends that Google be restructured.
- Though the report was adopted 445-104, it is not a binding one.
- The European Commission has two open cases against Google, which will take years to be completed.
The European Parliament just adopted a report which calls for the complete structural separation of Google’s general and specialized search services.
It was around a year ago that the European Commission issued Google a record-high $2.7 billion fine for violating the European Union’s antitrust rules. The Commission found that Google was giving itself an illegal disadvantage over its competition by displaying Google Shopping results on top while demoting rival websites. Responding to this ruling, Google said it would adopt an auction-based approach whereby competitors bid for the top spot. However, it seems as though the European Parliament isn’t wholly satisfied.
On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to adopt a report which recommends that Google be completely restructured: its general search services would be separated from its commercial activities. The report, which suggests that Google’s new auction-based approach is not enough to level the playing field, was adopted 445-104, but it is not a binding one. That said, it is a clear indication that Europe is becoming increasingly concerned with Google’s practices.
As Politico points out, the European Commission currently has two open cases against Google concerning Android and Adsense for Search. These will advance according to Margrethe Vestager, Competition Commissioner at the organization, though the investigations will take years to be completed.