News Corp adds to Google’s antitrust woes over Android



Google’s antitrust woes in the European Union are growing, as News Corp. filed a new complaint against the legality of the U.S. tech giant’s search and news services at the same time as EU regulators are preparing a formal complaint on its Android mobile-phone operating system.
“Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers,” EU Competition Commissioner MargretheVestager said on Monday about the Android probe in a speech in Amsterdam.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is one of the most high-profile targets for Vestager. The way the EU ramped up the Android probe follows a similar pattern to last year’s escalation of a separate case targeting Google’s comparison shopping-search service. The company received antitrust objections just weeks after rivals got similar EU requests to declassify documents. Google’s advertising business and tax arrangements are also being reviewed by the EU.
The European Commission on Monday confirmed it had received a complaint from News Corp. that “it will now assess,” according to spokesman Ricardo Cardoso.
Google’s search engine and Google News protect and reinforce the general search dominance by offering scraped information on the Google services and preventing people from going to the actual news publishers’ Web sites, according to a person familiar with the new complaint who asked to not identified because the deliberations were confidential. That means the media companies don’t get page hits, cutting advertising income.
More than five years after the EU opened a separate investigation into Google’s search business, it’s still weighing whether to fine Google or order the company to change its business practices. In previous antitrust cases, the EU has forced Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. to pay billions of euros in fines.
News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson met with Vestager last month to discuss Google and said in a statement that the company has “yet to see concrete meaningful action” from Google “that contradicts our impressions that the company routinely exploits its market dominance and has little appreciation of the commercial or social value of high-quality journalism.”

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