EU Commission: Google must break up its ad business or face a massive fine

EU Commission: Google must break up its ad business or face a massive fine
Few institutions are as effective as the European Commission when it comes to keeping global tech giants in check. Through an impressive array of regulations, the EU has managed to reign in companies like Apple, Meta and Google. The last one in particular has come under fire from EU regulators once again.

In a recent statement, the European Commission has called into question the legality of Google’s business model and has hinted at some extreme measures in order to break the company’s hold over the online advertising market. The information was first brought forward via an official press release on the European Commission’s website, and subsequently covered by 9to5Google in a dedicated article.

According to the Commission, there is a strong possibility that Google’s current practices are anti-competitive and could, thus, be illegal under EU law. Furthermore, the statement notes that a ‘behavioral remedy’ is unlikely to be effective and implies that drastic moves on the EU’s part are not out of the question.

The European Commission’s ‘preliminary view’ asserts that ‘only the mandatory divestment by Google of part of its services would address its competition concerns.’ In other words, if Google wants to continue to have access to the European Single Market it has two options - it can either break up its online advertising business or risk a massive fine of 10% of its annual worldwide turnover.

Google could also, theoretically, decide to withdraw from the EU or (more realistically) pursue some kind of different arrangement with the Commission. It should be noted that the latter’s position on the matter is not final.

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This is hardly the first time an American tech giant has been forced to reconsider vital parts of its business model when faced with the prospect of legal action in the EU. Apple is expected to put an end to its proprietary Lighting connector and introduce the first USB-C iPhone later this year, precisely because of mounting pressure from EU regulators.

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