The European Union is venturing into unprecedented water by working to put together a plan that would require the tech giant Google to break-off its search engine business.
The European Union is in the process of formulating a situation where they could potentially bully Google into unbundling its overall business. The move is one that would be absolutely unprecedented in aggression toward the company, but less unprecedented in concept. The growing concern is that Google is ultimately gaining too much power on the Web, by controlling and dictating the content that is there through its powerful search engine.
Google executives have apparently taken exception to the notion that they – at some point – may be forced to unbundle their company and split it up – for a lack of a more formal term, and understandably so. The Financial Times was the source that the news broke onto, and the European parliament is looking into a motion which would “suggest” that Google begin unbundling its search engine from the rest of the services that Google provides.
Europe though is faced with a much more daunting task when it comes to handling Google. In Europe Google actually dominates the search engine space accounting for a massive 90% share. In the past, some of the smaller search engines have complained that Google moved them down in priority of search – to ensure that users would have a more difficult time getting to them, and in turn, affirming their position in the marketplace.
Microsoft though has argued a similar point, saying that Google has worked hard to ensure that Bing experience similar issues. As it turns out, the EU has been working on investigating Google on a number of these fronts for a series of years – but now it appears as though major steps are being taken to make that very thing happen.
Ultimately this all comes down to what antitrust regulators do. The EU cannot force anything themselves, but if they press the right buttons with antitrust regulators who have been investigating Google themselves for three years now, the implications could be huge. The notion that Google has been funneling users to certain sites because it is in their best interest is something that has raised a lot of concern in the past and if Google is put in a position where it has to split off – that is something that could have serious implications on the company in the long run.