There had been mutterings in the rebuilt Reichstag that Google was an “evil Empire” which had been playing monopoly and that the Fatherland needed a new living room in cyber-space.
Now it appears that German publishers VDZ and BDZV are set to follow government complaints by mobilising their forces on the borders of legal action.
They have previously mentioned that Google profits from their online content without offering them a fair share of advertising revenue. They do not like the way that Google offers “snippets” from media websites and news articles which show up in lists on Google search results.
They will be joining Ciao, a Microsoft-owned social networking site for shoppers, and online map company Euro-Cities which have both muttered darkly about Google’s business practices.
Google’s German spokesman Kay Oberbeck says the company is confident it has done nothing wrong and is currently explaining to the Cartel Office why it is important that it has control of Europe. It says its monopoly is benign and its products and business practices to the Cartel Office and show that we are convinced these are in line with German and European law.
Oberbeck added the company paid 4.2 billion euros ($6 billion) to publishers worldwide in 2009. Although this figure is small in comparison to the 1.2 billion euros a year on ads placed next to regular search results.