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Is a new UK regulator about to crack down on Google?

The Competition and Markets Authority is turning up the heat on big tech. They want to break up Google’s advertising monopolies and could create a specialised regulator unit to do so. 

According to The Financial Times an all new “digital markets unit” could be put together in an attempt to address the role of huge tech companies, like Google, in the UK market.

The Telegraph reported Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) findings on Wednesday that “Google accounted for 90% of all search advertising revenues in Britain last year worth about £6bn.” Now, it seems the CMA are going to swing into action to counter the monopoly.

A breakup of Google’s advertising business has been suggested, as the CMA believe that Google’s monopoly may be suffocating smaller businesses and reducing choice for consumers. The big question behind this suggestion is just how far can the British CMA really legislate against a huge, global company like Google?

Tech companies with such a global reach generally prefer to adopt uniform policies across their global operations. For example, when GDPR was introduced, Facebook and Google changed things all over the world, not just where the law originated.

That indicates that Google may fight regulators if they try to enforce a different system in the UK to that which Google operates elsewhere.

That said, we shouldn’t underestimate the power that regulators wield. If they really want Google to change how they operate her in the UK, they will probably be able to make them do so. After all, the UK market is huge and there are equally huge incentives for Google to play ball and stay in the market as a result.

It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds – how Google reacts to a more forceful UK regulator could well effect their dealings with nations across the world.

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