- EU commission has had a series of run-ins with Google over its growing power
- Commissioner Margaret Vestager voices ‘grave suspicions’ about internet giant
- Ms Vestager says she does not ruling out ordering break-up of the company
The EU could step in to force the break-up of Google, the bloc’s competition commissioner warned today.
Margrethe Vestager said she had ‘grave suspicions’ about the internet giant’s growing power.
The European commission has had a series of run-ins with Google, including hitting the firm with a record £2billion fine last June for favouring its own comparison shopping service.
It is appealing the ruling, but two other separate cases are ongoing.
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (file picture) said she had ‘grave suspicions’ about the internet giant’s growing power
Asked in an interview with the Daily Telegraph whether she thought Google might have to be broken up, Ms Vestager said: ‘I think it important to keep that question open and on the agenda.
‘We are not there yet but it is important to keep an awakened eye.’
The commissioner warned that the search engine – which has a 91 per cent share of the market – could become so big that it is indispensable for the economy.
Ms Vestager said: ‘There is no ban on success in Europe. You get to be dominant and you get a special responsibility that you don’t destroy the already weakened competition.
‘We have proven their dominance in search and we have found they have misused this dominance to promote themselves and diminish competitors.’
Since taking the EU competition job in 2014, Ms Vestager has earned a reputation for taking on tech giants.
She ordered Ireland to claw back £11billion from Apple after finding the company was given illegal tax breaks.
But she rejected the idea she is hounding tech companies.
The European commission has had a series of run-ins with Google, including hitting the firm with a record £2billion fine last June for favouring its own comparison shopping service. Pictured is Google’s HQ in London
‘I think the motives for illegal behaviour are the same for any kind of company. Money, fear, power – these motives have been the same across centuries,’ she said.
The threat comes with tech firms under unprecedented levels of scrutiny for their behaviour.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is facing demands to give evidence to a Commons committee amid a furious backlash about a data breach affecting 50million users