Competition report warns big tech monopolies that inaction will bring unbundling closer

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This morning MEPs are expected to adopt, with a large majority, a report by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament calling for action to be taken in the competition field to further scrutinise the practices of big tech monopolies within the European Union, in a move that will add weight to calls for further regulation within the European Union.

In the report, the annual assessment of Competition Policy within the EU, MEPs highlight their concerns over the use of personal data by tech companies for marketing and super profiling purposes and put the unbundling of Google back on the table, while calling for more resources, including specialised tech engineers and more modernised technological tools to be dedicated to Commissioner Vestager’s department (DG Competition), in order to allow to deal faster with the growing number of big complex cases that fall on her desk.

Ramon Tremosa i Balcells MEP, EP rapporteur commented ahead of the vote:

“It’s time for Google executives to come out of the shadows and appear before the European Parliament in a public hearing to outline how they plan to comply with the European Commission’s recent statement of objections addressing their operations. In this report, MEPs have made it clear they believe that without a full-blown structural separation between the companies’ general and specialised search services, the auction-based approach now proposed might not deliver equal treatment. In light of many recent scandals, other big tech companies including Facebook also have profound questions to answer about their business models and their impacts on our democracies. ”

“More broadly, this report shows there is a growing consensus that big tech companies use of personal data is unprecedented and consumers are often not aware of, or informed of the extent to which their data is being mined for corporate and political profiling purposes. This poses a serious challenge to competition authorities. The time for a “business as usual” approach in the competition field is over.”

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