Google Under Fire From European Media Tycoon
Google has been strongly criticized by the head of one of the largest media companies in Europe in an open letter that was published in a German newspaper. Chief executive of Axel Springer, Mathias Dopfner said that his company was fearful of the search engine giant and its power. In the letter that was addressed to Eric Schmidt of Google, Mr. Dopfner asks the company whether it has the intention of creating a superstate where privacy and anti-trust laws aren’t applicable. No comment has been made by Google about the letter. More than 200 magazines and newspapers are published by Axel Springer, which includes German newspaper Bild and Die Welt. The company also has radio and television interests as well as significant presence online.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper published the letter written by Mr. Dopfner in answer to a column that was written by Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, even though the newspaper isn’t published by his company. The advertising relationship between Google and Alex Springer had been referred in the column that was written by Mr. Schmidt. He had described how their relationship had been complicated sometimes, but then they signed a multi-year deal. According to Mr. Dopfner, he was an admirer of the tech giant’s entrepreneurial success and was happy at the marketing relationship between 2 companies.
However, he said that they really didn’t have any choice other than dealing with Google because that’s the only search engine option they have for broadening their reach. He said that their digital business contributed about 62% of the total profit and the internet offered endless opportunities, but he was simply concerned about the role played by the search engine company online. He also made reference to a long dispute between the European Commission and Google in which Google had been accused of favoring its own products in the results of the search engine.
Mr. Dopfner said that the two parties may have reached an agreement, but it wasn’t a compromise. Instead, a new business model had been introduced by the Commission, which could be called extortion in some circles. He further asserted that Google could still discriminate against competitors in the search results. At that time, the tech giant had said that its proposals of changing the ranking of the search engine results were wide reaching and fair. He also continued to add that large technology companies such as Google possess a lot of water that people don’t realize.
He said that apart from biological viruses, it is these technology platforms that spread with such efficiency, speed and aggressiveness. That’s how its owners and creators gain power. He then compared Google with state monopolies such as the ones that run the German telecom and postal services, saying that a global network monopoly exists so it’s necessary that Google maintains fair and transparent criteria in its search results. Also, Mr. Dopfner didn’t just restrict his comments to Google, but also directed some of the fire towards Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.