A European Parliament motion calling for the breakup of Google, separating out the search business from the company’s other activities, has been overwhelmingly approved, reports the WSJ.

In a vote in Strasbourg, 384 legislators voted in favor of the controversial initiative, with 174 against and 56 abstentions […]

“Clear adoption by the EP of Digital Single Market motion, including unbundling for search engine if needed,” tweeted Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker from Spain who backed the proposal.

The vote comes just a day after a separate European call for the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling to be extended to google.com as well as the European versions of its sites … 

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While the vote might sound dramatic, the reality is rather less so. The resolution does not have any actual power, effectively amounting to no more than making the feelings of Parliament known to the European Commission – Europe’s main antitrust regulator.

The European Commission does potentially have the power to force a breakup of Google’s businesses, but only its European subsidiaries. It is not clear how this scenario might play out in practice.

It had initially looked like a settlement had been reached back in February to the long-running saga over whether Google took advantage of its dominant search business to disadvantage rivals. Google agreed then to more clearly label and separate links to its own services from organic search results. However, a subsequent consultation with complainants like News Corp led the EC to ask Google to do more.

We can expect this one to run for some time yet …

Photo credit: mirror.co.uk

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