The EU’s Unbundling of Google

Europe is taking their differences with Google to another level, as the European Parliament voted 384 to 174 in favour of a resolution seeking to “unbundle” search from the rest of the company’s business. This would allow the continent to take more control from the company in terms of search, along with the ability to create a diversified market.

The anti-Google sentiments may come as a surprise for anyone outside of Europe, but these feelings have been simmering for years now. The two most potent reasons for people distrusting the tech giant is its iron tight grip on the search market. Currently, Google holds more than sixty percent share of the global search market, with small deviations in territories such as China and Russia that have their own search engines.

This doesn’t sit well with anti-Googlists that feel there should be fairer competition, along with suspicions that foreign companies such as Google and Facebook aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. There’s a mounting distrust for American Internet companies in the continent as well, since the Edward Snowden saga. Many Europeans feel these companies willingly or unwittingly aid the American government in Internet surveillance of their countries.

Fortunately, this vote is nothing more than a political statement to pressure the European Commission, the real people who can make this “unbundling” happen. In their defence, the EC has tried multiple times to broker a settlement between Google and the EU. Google critics have always said that the settlements were too soft, and would have no impact on the market.

It’s unlikely that the EC actually goes through with a complete unbundling, and might just settle for making Google alter their privacy policy regarding ad targeting. All this online tension underscores how people keep using the Internet as a scapegoat for failing to realise shifting market perspectives before it’s too late. Instead of building their own search engines during the 80s and 90s, they relied on tried and tested methods, failing to evolve, until they were taken over by foreign corporations.

Even now, the EP continues to fight Google PC for search, while the market is shifting towards mobile. This cycle will repeat until policy makers stop pointing fingers and work toward the needs of the future.

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