Saturday 18 November 2017

Google responds to Murdoch's blasting of internet giant to competition authorities

Google (stock photo)
Google (stock photo)
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Google has responded after Rurpert Murdoch’s News Corp complained to European competition authorities about the internet giant.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson wrote to the European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia last week blasting what he called the internet company’s “egregious aggregation” of news content.

He described Google as  "a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks," but stopped short of making a formal complaint.

Google hit back yesterday, in an online blog posting titled “Dear Rupert” the US company claims to have done “more than almost any other company to help tackle online piracy”.

It takes a swipe at Rupert Murdoch and other European newspaper executives who have called for curbs on Google’s ability to “aggregate” or bundle up news content originally produced by their companies. Google said it has given people more choice over where they get their news.

“Access to information in any given country, particularly news content, used to be controlled by a relatively small number of media organizations. Today, people have far greater choice. That has had a profound impact on newspapers, who face much stiffer competition for people’s attention and for advertising euro,” Google said.

But in his earlier letter Robert Thomson said Google has morphed from “a wonderfully feisty, creative Silicon Valley start-up to a vast, powerful, often unaccountable bureaucracy which is sometimes contemptuous of intellectual property and routinely configures its search results in a manner that is far from objective.”

He said Newcorp would offer the benefit of its experience to the EC investigation into Google.

Commissioner Almunia has already had a probe into Google’s market position running for four years and warned this week that the case could become as big as previous decade long investigation of Microsoft.

His investigation is looking at a number of aspects to Google’s operations – including how links to its own products such as YouTube and Google Maps are returned by searches.

Googles blog posting was uploaded to the internet by Rachel Whetstone, the company’s senior vice president for global communication.

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