The European Union has apparently decided that creating a product that is far and away better than any other and using said product to become one of the most successful companies on the planet is decidedly non-competitive and wrong. Back in the late 1990s, Google created the algorithm that made their search engine dominant. Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with a search that was just flat-out better than anyone else’s. A LOT better.
By charging other companies a fee to place ads on the resulting search pages, Google has become the dominant search engine on Earth which, in turn, has made the conglomerate one of the largest and most successful corporations in history. I thought that this was the goal of free enterprise. To create a product that was better than any other, then offer the product to other companies for a profit. If those customers decide that the service that you offer is worth paying for, you and they prosper.
But, the EU has decided that this type of business model is evil and unfair. This past week, the European Parliament began calling for a ‘breakup’ of Google. The Financial Times has seen a parliamentary draft motion stating that the unbundling of search engines from other commercial services should be considered as a potential solution to Google’s dominance. Both the European People’s Party and the Socialists, the two main blocs of the parliament, are backing this solution.
The European Parliament does not have the power to break up companies, but it does have a large influence on the European Commission which, initiates all EU legislation. The resolution is expected to be finalized next week with a vote to follow by Thursday. Google has declined comment on the story, but executives are said to be furious about this obvious political move by the EU.
I don’t blame them. We seem to be living in a strange world where profiting from one’s creativity and innovation are deemed wrong, but legislating against honestly achieved success is the right thing.