News Corp's Australian arm calls for Google breakup



"This substantial market power underpins the harms perpetuated by digital platforms against publishers such as News Corp Australia".

In an 80-page document submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the media giant accused Google of abusing its market dominance in search to benefit its ad business, and it called for its search business to be separated from the rest of the company's business units.

"Accordingly, News Corp Australia recommends that this remedy should take the form of an ACCC recommendation to Government, following the conclusion of the inquiry, and should be limited to Google".

When Google had agreed to change its methods in response to investigation or new regulations in other countries, it often soon replaced the conduct with new methods which had the same effect: directing traffic and sales to its own sites and hurting competition, the News Corp arm said. It says Google's "anti-competitive" behavior threatens the sustainability of news and journalism, undermining the "virtuous cycle" of publisher's subscription and advertising revenue.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is now battling Google parent Alphabet as it tries to win back billions of dollars in advertising revenue which has flowed to Google from its newspapers in the past ten years.

"Any solution must be bold", the company said in its submission.

The ACCC's chairman, Rob Sims, said he was looking at News Corp Australia's submission "with an open mind".

The regulator has previously said the enormous market power of companies like Google, which has a 94 percent share of web searches in Australia, and their opaque methods for ranking advertisements, enable them to favor their businesses over advertisers.

News Corp also backed the ACCC's recommendation, made in its preliminary report, to regulate news and advertising in the digital sphere.

The ACCC had concluded in the preliminary report that Google had substantial market power in online search, search advertising and news referral while Facebook had similar clout in markets for social media, display advertising and online news referral.

Both Google and Facebook have pushed back against this, stating that they don't play favourites and are keeping their algorithms to themselves.

"The market power that Google and Facebook occupy makes it hard even for sophisticated and experienced businesses like News Corp".

"The inquiry should focus on competition issues arising from the identified market power of digital platforms in the markets for media and advertising services, in particular in relation to the supply of news and journalistic content, as per the terms of reference", it said.

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