European Union Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who spearheaded the decision to fine Google $2.7 billion in 2017 for allegedly manipulating online shopping marketplaces, told The Telegraph in an interview that the EU still holds “suspicions” about the search company's monopolistic business practices. The EU is considering whether breaking up Google based on antitrust grounds is the only option to enable more competition.
Vestager disclosed last year that more cases against Google were likely as a result of the multi-billion fine aimed at getting Google to stop favoring its shopping service.
Frankly, I don’t believe the EU will be successful in breaking apart Google. It appears that one of the reasons Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page created the parent and holding company Alphabet was to prevent the future breakup of the companies, allowing each division to act on its own under one umbrella.
Others in the past have attempted to split very large companies into two without much success. For instance, in 2000, Thomas P. Jackson ruled that Microsoft should be split into two companies for monopolistic business practices and abusing its dominant market position.
It's not clear how the EU would try to break up Google. And if successful, it would not prevent the integration of the company's ad-serving technology that connects search with display, television and video across all its properties, from search to YouTube.
The EU is in the process of drafting new legislation aimed at regulating app stores, ecommerce sites and search engines. In mid-March, Reuters reported plans by the EU to possibly set down new rules that could require search engines, commerce sites and online platforms to explain how they rank search results.
If passed, the EU proposal will not force companies to disclose their algorithms, but rather would require them to provide general descriptions explaining “how and to what extent the relevant ranking” factor takes into account the quality of products and services.