posted at 16:00
Author Name: Matt Rosoff
Europe Cant Split Google In Two Anyway, These Antitrust Experts Say
The European parliament is thinking about making a ruling that Google split off its search engine from other parts of its business, according to a report today in the Financial Times. "I think it'd be very difficult for Google to disaggregate all its own assets and interests from Google Search just in Europe. I'm not saying it couldn't do it, but it would be costly. You'd get a lot of squawking from European consumers because it would deteriorate the quality of Google search quite a bit." That's because Google uses its own products to provide quick answers to certain kinds of queries. Hylton thinks Google would be wise to take the threat seriously. "Expect a much harsher deal than Google worked out earlier with the previous EC competition commissioner Almunia. That earlier deal was a laughable outcome in which Google was poised to make more money from the remedy than it would have made without EC intervention." Regulators in Europe have been looking at Google closely for a few years now, concerned that the company is using its search dominance to guide users to its own products and away from competing products, as well as generally playing unfair in the advertising market. The reason? Unlike the case with Microsoft in the 1990s, where consumers paid for Windows on new PCs and faced some technical barriers in switching to a new operating system, using Google search is free and it's easy for people to switch search engines. "The thing about bias with respect to Google assets or interests, that problem can be addressed by requiring Google to post a note or symbol" - for instance, YouTube results could be clearly marked as coming from Google.

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