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EU officials downplay Google break-up proposals

Measured approach needed in investigation of search giant, says EU digital markets chief

EU officials downplay Google break-up proposals
Ansip: We have some doubts about misuse of gatekeeper positions.

European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, the EU's digital markets chief, yesterday voiced concerns about large Internet companies' possible abuse of their industry power, but cautioned against hasty action in the case of Google, Reuters reported.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is in the midst of a four-year-old anti-competition investigation of Google and earlier this week The Financial Times reported that members of the European parliament had drafted a non-binding resolution calling for the break-up of US search giant. The parliament is not empowered to split up companies, but it does exert increasing influence over the Commission.

Some members responsible for authorship of the resolution have clarified their positions, saying that unbundling Google's search business from the rest of its operations was "one of several" ideas posed. But concerns linger among lawmakers and officials over the market-shaping power of some US technology companies.

"We have some doubts about misuse of gatekeeper positions and also leading positions in the markets," said Ansip, but refrained from mentioning any company by name. Addressing recent developments regarding Google as a separate matter, he said, "I'm not ready to say that they will have to be broken up... We have to investigate very carefully where those problems are ... and then find possible solutions."

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