The resolution calls on the Commission “to properly enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of position and to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services.”
The motion was passed by 384 MEP’s to 174 against, and while the parliament has no power to enforce it, its passing gives the European executive an imperative to take action against the search provider.
In Europe Google has a 90 percent share of the search market, much higher than the 68 percent market share it enjoys in the US. As well as a search engine, the company provides more than 100 other services, including control of Google Play and the Android platform.
The prospect of the proceedings against the search giant drew opposition in America, with the Computer and Communications Industry Association calling the move “deeply troubling.” Ahead of the vote a letter was sent to European Parliamentarians from 12 members of the US House of Representatives, warning that to pass the resolution “would deter continued innovation and investment from U.S based companies.”
Since 2010 Google has been the subject of an EU Commission antitrust investigation, which seeks to find out whether it has abused its position as Europe’s dominant search engine. Claims under investigation include “according preferential placement to the results of its own vertical search services in order to shut out competing services,” as well as “allegations that Google imposes exclusivity obligations on advertising partners.” The investigation has not yet reached a conclusion.
Thursday’s motion also detailed many more prospective measures to realize the EU’s aim of a digital single market, which it says could net the region €260 billion in economic gains and increased efficiency. They included the provision of higher capacity broadband across all areas of the EU, including remote areas, and the adoption of modernized data protection legislation.