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November 26, 2014

U.S. Lawmakers Rally Around Google After EU Politicans Suggest Breakup of Company

The U.S. is none to happy about the European Parliament pushing to have Google’s search engine operations separated from the rest of the company.

In fact, Washington politicians have penned letters to their EU counterparts discouraging the motion being drafted by the European Parliament. The EU is suggesting splitting Google’s search engine operations in Europe from the rest of the company to end its “monopoly”  of the market.

Several members of Congress, in a letter to EU politicians, said if parliament’s motion were to be adopted by the European Commission, it would deter “continued innovation and investment”  from American Internet companies.

Below is an excerpt from the letter signed by 12 members of Congress:

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A second letter, this time from the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte called the resolution that is in the works “troubling.”
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A joint letter from the Republican and Democrat leadership of the Senate finance committee and House ways and means committee, meanwhile, said the Parliament’s motion appears to “target U.S. technology companies” and brings into question “the EU’s commitment to open markets.”

Although the EU Parliament cannot enforce its resolution, it had planned to put pressure on the European Commission to come down hard on Google. In fact, its motion “calls on the Commission to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term solution” to give other companies a chance.

Although the draft motion seen by Reuters does not specifically mention Google or any other search engine, it stands to reason the document is aimed at the American company, which currently enjoys an estimated 90 percent of the search market in Europe.

Google, according to a report from Business Insider, is hopping mad over the EU Parliament’s suggestion, especially seeing as the tech company was working with the European Commission to settle the four-year-long investigation into the company’s practices. Google was accuse by the EU of using its monopoly of the market to give its own products and services prominence over that of its competitors.

Newly-appointed European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said earlier this month that she is mulling over how to handle the issue. Vestager, who took over from Joaquin Almunia at the beginning of the month, said she planned to examine the opinions of parties involved in the case and check on the latest developments in the sector before taking any action.

She added that the investigation would only be about competition issues despite pressure from critics that it should be expanded to include data privacy and media pluralism.

If European Union regulators are not satisfied with Google’s next round of concessions, the company could be slapped with a $5-billion fine.

 


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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