European Commission: splitting up Google remains an option

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The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said in an interview that splitting Google should remain an option when it comes to measures to curb the company’s dominance.

Vestager made the statements to The Telegraph newspaper. Regarding the possibility of splitting, she says that ‘this option must remain open and remain on the agenda’, but also that ‘we have not quite got to that point yet’. In addition, she warned that the search engine could become so large that it is indispensable for companies and the economy, according to the newspaper. What a possible split would look like is unclear.

The European Commissioner further states that the EU has ‘serious suspicions’, or grave suspicions, about the dominance of Google and says later in the interview: “We have proven the dominance in the field of search engines and have found that they use this dominance to promote and weaken their competitors.” It is not clear whether she refers directly to Google or to large tech companies in general.

She adds: “There is no ban on success in Europe. You are allowed to be dominant and have a special responsibility not to destroy the already weakened competition.” Charged with exempting tech companies, Vestager says the motives for illegal behavior are the same for all companies. “Money, fear and power, these motives have been the same for centuries.”

In June, the European Commission fined Google 2.4 billion euros for favoring its own price comparator in search results. Google is challenging this fine. There are currently two other cases pending, one on Android and the other on AdSense. In the Shopping case, Google took measures that competitors portray as ineffective. Google disagrees with this conclusion.

According to sources from the Reuters news agency, European legislation is currently being drafted that will force tech companies to be more transparent on their platforms, for example when showing search results.

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