On Friday we reported that the European parliament is threatening to break up Google. More precisely, it is likely to approve a draft motion calling for the European Commission to consider the “unbundling” of search engines from other commercial services as one possible solution to Google’s dominance.
But would this even work in practice? The short answer is, it’s not clear.
The German MEP Andreas Schwab, a long-time Google critic who is sponsoring the draft motion, told the FT that the practicalities had still to be looked at. Read more
There has been no shortage of calls recently for European regulators to drag Google’s controversial new data privacy policies into their anti-trust investigation of the company. But with settlement talks at an advanced stage, we hear this one isn’t going anywhere – at least, not in this round of Google v the EU. Read more
Frankly, I am becoming less convinced that Europe is capable of winning the war against cyber-attacks. Ever since a series of online attacks paralysed Estonia in 2007, protection against internet crime and terrorism has moved up the agenda for the European Commission, NATO and individual European countries. But it is unclear whether any real progress has been made in the last three years.
The UK’s House of Lords will on Thursday publish its study into how well Europe protects itself online. The conclusion is that there are serious concerns about co-ordination between different member states and a real risk that less well prepared countries could compromise those, like the UK, which are relatively advanced in their cyber protection measures. Not very surprising conclusions perhaps.
But the detail of the report highlights some farcical aspects. Read more
Intel has come out fighting, after being slapped with a record €1.06bn fine by the EU for anti-competitive practices. Paul Otellini, chief executive, responded almost instantly with a statement that Intel planned to appeal.
“Intel takes strong exception to this decision,” he said. So the Brussels lawyers and the computer industry can now look forward to a protracted battle before there is any sort of finality to this.
The fine is certainly enormous, dwarfing even the sums Microsoft has had to pay. However, it’s not clear how much this ruling will really change. Read more