News Corp warns EU that 'cynical' Google will kill newspapers if allowed to continue to 'abuse its dominance' - Press Gazette

News Corp warns EU that 'cynical' Google will kill newspapers if allowed to continue to 'abuse its dominance'

News Corp has urged the European Commission to take action to stop Google using its dominant internet search platform to “eliminate competition”.

Google has a 90 per cent share of search engine traffic in Europe. The European Commission has been investigating the company, and seeking a deal which will protect competition in Europe, since 2000.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson has set out his concerns in a letter to EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

Thomson said: "Google must do more to ensure that rights are respected and that its powerful search platform is not abused to eliminate competition."

And he warned that the “shining vision” of Google’s founders has been replaced by “a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google".

He noted that Google ignores the “unlawful and unsavoury content that surfaces after the simplest of searches”. And said it has not shown a willingness to “respect fundamental property rights”.

Thomson said: "Sudden changes are made to the ranking and display of Google search results, which inevitably maximise income for Google and yet punish small companies that have become dependent on Google for their livelihood.

He said that some newspapers will close in Europe over the next five years partly because “the value of serious content has been commmodified by Google”.

He said: "The uniqueness of news sites has been undermined by aggregation of content which transfers the front page to the Google home page. Readers have been socialized into accepting this egregious aggregation as the norm.

"Undermining the basic business model of professional content creators will lead to a less informed, more vexatious level of dialogue in our society. There will be no shortage of opinions, in fact, opinions will proliferate, but they will be based on ever flimsier foundations. The quality of discourse will inevitably deteriorate and the intemperate trends we are already seeing in much of Europe will proliferate…

"The company’s power increases with each passing day, so to allow it five years to fashion the future of content and to abuse its dominance in search would be a mistake of magnitude. Google will certainly be the winner, and among the losers will be those who create content and, undoubtedly, the people of Europe."

Read News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson's letter to Joaquín Almunia in full.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette