German minister eyes possibility of breaking up Google

Jun 28, 2014
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 26, 2014

Germany's justice minister says the possibility of dismantling Google should be considered if the Internet giant abuses its dominant position, in a newspaper interview to be published Saturday.

"Just imagine an energy company that covers 95 percent of the whole market. The cartel authority would act quite quickly," Heiko Maas told Saturday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"Such conditions are, in market terms, not sensible, not healthy," he said according to a pre-released copy of the interview.

"So yes, if Google misuses its to systematically push aside competitors, then as a last means something like a dissolution should be considered," he said.

Maas said the digital era had long left behind national borders and rules and there was now a need for an "international network law".

Defiance is strong in Germany over the US Internet search engine's dominant position.

German-based media giant Axel Springer is among a group of players in Europe's digital markets which has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against what it alleges are new anti-competitive abuses by Google.

Maas admitted however that he used Google daily. "I am unfortunately part of the problem," he said.

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User comments : 15

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BSD
5 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2014
politics not science
Returners
1 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2014
Maas admitted however that he used Google daily. "I am unfortunately part of the problem," he said.


I use Google every day, several times per day. In most cases it is just plain better and easier to use than other generalized search engines. If you're looking for something very specific or specialized, then Google might not be the best search engine. Most of the time I find what I'm looking for within the first page of search results, EXCEPT when it involves a word that happens to be similar to some celebrity's name, then it sucks.

I'm pretty sure present international law would forbid Germany from breaking up Google. They could choose to censor them if they want, like China or North Korea does, but it's a U.S. based company with most of it's assets in the U.S., and no, they don't have a monopoly on the internet, because the majority of material assets don't belong to Google.

If anyone wants to make a better application, they are free to do so. It's just software and servers.
grondilu
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2014
So when somethings works so well that everybody uses it, a politician eventually shows up and says it should be broken down. Great.
Returners
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 28, 2014
So when somethings works so well that everybody uses it, a politician eventually shows up and says it should be broken down. Great.


He's confusing a material monopoly (standard Oil or AT&T,) with what amounts to a reference guide (Google).

While Google owns immense material assets, they are not a majority share of the internet. Amazon not only has similar information technology, but also has a tax-free retail and re-sell warehouses.

The reason the U.S. does not tax Amazon, even though they should tax them, is because Amazon could expatriate to Sweden and get a lower tax rate. Though they'd still be subject to sales tax is the U.S. forced them to pay. Currently Amazon does pay some tax willfully, I think just to save face.

Google's alternate material assets were investments in operating systems, hand-held gadgets, and alternative energy to help offset the cooling bills for their server farms; None of these are even remotely monopolized by Google.
Returners
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 28, 2014
The European Union's fining of Microsoft, Google, and other U.S. technology companies is essentially an excuse to collect an additional corporate tax from them, which they otherwise would not be able to do under international law. Street View was the offender then, which I kind of agreed with due to some privacy issues. In the U.S. property lines often go to the center of small roads, but the government gives right-of-way. However, you technically own the land. We own both sides of the road, and should be able to tell a company like Google that they cannot take photographs of your land for profit without paying royalties. Not that we have anything important to look at.

They complain about Google now, but THEY are the ones who forced Microsoft to not even have their own software enabled in their own operating system, and in some cases forced them to have competitor's software distributed with their operating system.
Returners
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 28, 2014
The funny thing is Google's satellite program for mapping is also better than anything the Government or other organizations made available to the public, at least for general use. Street View combined with the satellite mapping has made the most complete, most comprehensive map in the history of humanity. It's much more advanced even than any government ever attempted to make, which is embarrassing considering how much money the governments spend on satellites and military technology, and how much longer their information technology systems have been in place.

That's what happens when you get a couple geniuses together, and their first few ideas work, and make them billionaires, and then they are like, "Hey, let's play around, and make everything we ever dreamed about now..."

Unlike some other billionaires, they just keep on innovating and improving everything: their own ideas, someone else's idea, doesn't matter.

I'd do much the same thing if I had a billion dollars.
Uncle Ira
3 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2014
I'd do much the same thing if I had a billion dollars.


You going to spend the day arguing with your self again today Skippy?

If you had a billion dollars ol Ira suspects you would still spend all your day arguing with your self about what the meaning of life means to people who just don't care about Returnering-Skippy..
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2014
The funny thing is Google's satellite program for mapping is also better than anything the Government or other organizations made available to the public, at least for general use. Street View combined with the satellite mapping has made the most complete, most comprehensive map in the history of humanity. It's much more advanced even than any government ever attempted to make
No it's funny how you think the normal progress of technology somehow means that the govt is incompetent.

It's also funny how you think people are interested in your manic stream-of-consciousness postings about what YOU think and what YOUR relatives do for a living and what YOU do on the internet.

Besides showing up here every few weeks and then flooding threads with 50 posts a day.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2014
It's much more advanced even than any government ever attempted to make, which is embarrassing considering how much money the governments spend on satellites and military technology, and how much longer their information technology systems have been in place.


Then you should find it even funnier that Google does use the same government/military satellites to obtain their satellite images. They simply buy the pictures off of anyone that takes them, whether its private or state.

What, did you think Google launches their own satellites as well?
fmfalcao
1 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2014
I find it funny that the minister is equating an energy company to Google. Most of the world *needs* energy, but i think the world would still function without Google.

FMF
Osiris1
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2014
Google needs to be dismantled. Moreover, their intrusive spying on each and every internet user with their 'google analytics' web spies and such need to be prosecuted even if it takes an ex post facto law and a bill of attainder to do it. England has historically used such draconian laws in the past on different threats to its state. 'Every move you make...Every step you take....We (google analytics) are WATCHING YOU!!! seems to be google's mantra in today's world. Like Carthage, Google must be destroyed!
euphoriewelle
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2014
The European Union's fining of Microsoft, Google, and other U.S. technology companies is essentially an excuse to collect an additional corporate tax from them, which they otherwise would not be able to do under international law.

These fines are no extra taxes. You should read the explanations of the verdicts. They have to pay because they took advantage of monopolies or had agreements with major resellers.
euphoriewelle
not rated yet Jun 29, 2014
However, you technically own the land. We own both sides of the road, and should be able to tell a company like Google that they cannot take photographs of your land for profit without paying royalties. Not that we have anything important to look at.

Owning land does not mean that one has complete control over it. How should anybody sell satellite images or even calenders under such a law? The rules in Germany are very simple: you have permission to photograph everything you can see from a street. Houses, people, cars, everything. With one exception: you are not allowed to photograph any particular person if it is the main part of an image. If Google didn't want to pixel houses, they would have won any law suit.
alfie_null
1 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2014
This is all posturing. Pandering. 95 percent of the world is run by politicians like Maas. It's a cartel, I tell you! I demand a breakup! Out with the politicians!
eclairm
not rated yet Jun 30, 2014
Anyone here who thinks all google does is provide a search service doesn't know anything about what they actually do. For one, they are the number 1 mobile and digitial marketing platform and maintain billions of profiles of users (completely in the dark from any oversight). When the US was caught doing this, people flipped. Why is it any different when a massive corporation, accountable to basically nobody, does it? They can accurately predict what time you're going to leave for work to the time you'll probably go to the bathroom each day. How can they do this? Because they have been left to do whatever they want and bought out tons of tiny little companies and built this monster of an analytical and predictive engine.

Their buisness model is to monitor everything you do so they can sell you things. The fact that the power to abuse isn't obvious here to more people shows just how successful their branding campaign as the "benevelent overlord of the internet" has been.