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EU votes to push Google break-up

Stephen Beard Nov 27, 2014
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EU votes to push Google break-up

Stephen Beard Nov 27, 2014
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Update: The European Parliament voted in support of breaking up Google Thursday morning. The text has been updated to reflect this.

Google is facing pressure in Europe to stop promoting its own products and services in its search results.  Lawmakers in the European parliament voted Thursday to press the search and tech giant to break up those services.

The was spearheaded by Spanish lawmaker Ramon Tremosa, who insists he and his colleagues are Google fans.

“We like Google, we use Google, I use Google everyday on my iPhone.” Tremosa says. “But Google has a monopoly, a 95 percent share of the search engine market in Europe, and it’s unfair when links to its own products and services come top in its own search results. It’s unfair to European competitors and consumers.”

Thursday’s parliamentary vote is non-binding, it won’t force Google to break up. But Kevin Poulter of the law firm Bircham Dyson Bell says the resolution is aimed at the European Commission, which after four years  is still carrying out an antitrust probe into the company.

“What the parliament is trying to do is apply that little bit more pressure to the commission.” Poulter says. “The European parliament is starting to swing their weight around and saying ‘We want some action taken.’”

That action could be punitive. The European Commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 percent of its $50 billion annual turnover .

Google says it has made three “offers of remedies” to the commission, but all three were rejected.

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