News Corp calls on the ACCC to limit Google's 'abuse of market power'

By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 13 March 2019

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has called for Google to be broken up, arguing in a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry that the search engine is abusing its market power.

In the submission to the consumer watchdog, traditional media company News Corp argues that global tech giant Google has “overwhelming market power”, which means it’s become the “most important place” for advertisers seeking to place digital ads.

Other organisations and media companies, such as the Australian Association of National Advertisers, Nine and Foxtel have also made their submissions to the inquiry on the impact of digital platforms on Australian journalism after the preliminary report was released in December 2018. 

Google argues it provides free traffic to Australian news publishers, referring two billion clicks to Australian news sites in 2018 alone.

However, News Corp also argues Google is able to leverage its market power to benefit its own ad tech functions. 

“Market intervention is therefore required to separate the dominant ad tech functions in order to create more choice and thereby restore competition in the supply of digital advertising,” says News Corp's submission

“Google's position as 'gatekeeper' via Google Search and its market power in the ad tech stack creates real and serious threats to the ability of publishers such as News Corp Australia to generate sufficient returns in order to viably fund news and journalism.”

News Corp called on the ACCC to recommend divestment for the tech giant, particularly requiring Google to separate Google Search from the rest of Google's business units.

“Google could either sell Google Search, or retain Google Search and divest the rest of its businesses to a third party.”

The suggestion that global tech companies should be broken up is becoming more frequent.

Last week US senator Elizabeth Warren outlined plans to break up tech giants, Google, Facebook and Amazon, including reversing big mergers, such as Facebook and Instagram.

AdNews has approached Google for comment.

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