Rupert Murdoch and News Corp Push for Google’s Breakup

Media company urges Australian regulators to act against Google’s “overwhelming” search and advertising power

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is calling for Australian regulators to break up Google, saying in a petition that the company enjoys “overwhelming” search and advertising dominance.

“Google leverages its market power in both general search services and ad tech services to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and news publishers,” News Corp. said in its petition to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. News Corp. owns several major publications, including Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and a number of high-profile international outlets.

The petition comes a week after presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her plan to break up tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Warren’s proposal to rein in Silicon Valley compared the current tech landscape to a modern day Gilded Age, where smaller companies are “bulldozed” by the big players. “We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor,” Warren said.

News Corp. recommended Google could either sell Google Search or “divest the rest of its businesses to a third party” to “remedy” the “harms” its placed on its competitors. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported last month it earned nearly $137 billion in revenue last year, with the vast majority of its sales stemming from its advertising business.

The company added: “While News Corp Australia recognises that divestment is a very serious step, and not a foregone conclusion in cases where there is a finding of market power, News Corp Australia considers that divestment is necessary in the case of Google, due to the unparalleled power that it currently exerts over news publishers and advertisers alike.”

Google did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

It’s unclear how the Australian regulators, even if they’re inclined to follow each recommendation from News Corp., would begin to break up the American tech giant. Still, the proposal shows once again Murdoch’s willingness to take on Silicon Valley. Last year, Murdoch pushed Facebook, the internet’s second-biggest ad company after Google, to pay publishers a “carriage fee,” similar to cable television.

“If Facebook wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies,” Murdoch said.  “The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services.”

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