The European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a controversial resolution asking the European Commission to consider the "unbundling of search engines from other commercial services" in order to ensure "competitive conditions within the digital single market." While not explicitly mentioned by name, the obvious target here is Google, which reportedly handles more than 90 percent of web searches across European countries.
The resolution was passed by 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions. While the motion is non-binding -- as in, it doesn’t have the authority really break up Google -- it is a strong public signal of Europe's concern with the growing power of U.S. tech giants. It is now up to the European Commission to review the complaint before deciding on the next step. The latter does potentially have the power to force a breakup, but only of Google’s European subsidiaries.
Google has been on the sights of european regulators over its allegedly anti-competitive practices since 2010. It’s also had to deal with several privacy issues, copyright concerns and even tax controversies. Most recently, Google was banned from grabbing thumbnail images and snippets of text from news results belonging to a group of German newspapers. The company complied but the papers quickly backed down after seeing web traffic plummet.
Aside from asking the European Commission to "enforce competition rules decisively", the Parliament’s resolution also called on the Council of the EU to finalize new rules on data protection, roaming and net neutrality.