Looks like the European Union (EU) is hell-bent on taking down Google. In the latest round of the ongoing spat between these two organizations, the EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager threatened to break up the search giant, alleging Google’s increased monopoly in European markets.
According to a report on The Sunday Telegraph, Vestager is firmly considering splitting Google into smaller companies, citing the giant’s dominance in the internet and advertising spaces. Google has over 91.5% share in the Europe search engine market, and EU believes the company could be exploiting its dominance.
Currently, the EU is said to be drafting a new set of rules that regulate e-commerce sites, app stores, and search engines. The new laws require companies to share details on how they rank in search results and why a few services are being delisted. This follows a new proposal by the EU, announced last week, under which tech giants including Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) will face taxation based on their region of operation, rather than the location of their headquarters. Such harsh decisions can dramatically alter the way these companies do business in Europe.
Last year, Google was slapped with a whopping $2.7 billion fine — which the company is still fighting — for not adhering to the antitrust law. The regulators had back then hinted that Google might continue to stay under their radar if it didn’t stop promoting its shopping services, thereby weakening rival firms. The fine is said to be the largest antitrust penalty issue by the European Commission.
The fine was based on an investigation done on Google after a rival online shopping firm alleged in 2010 that Google unfairly promoted its own product – Google Shopping.
Meanwhile, the European regulators have been frequently criticized by several US officials and businesses for falsely targeting successful Americans firms. Before Google, Apple (AAPL) was slapped with a $15 billion penalty for allegedly dodging taxes. Starbucks (SBUX) was also briefly embroiled in a tax battle with the European regulators a few years ago.