In Brief

News Corp calls for Google to be broken up

Submission to Australia’s competition watchdog is latest salvo in battle between the media giants

News Corp Australia has called on the country’s competition watchdog to break up Google’s local operations to limit the search giant’s power.

The company, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said Google’s search engine should be separated from the business to make it easier for digital publishers to compete for advertising.

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry yesterday, News Corp said: “Divestment is necessary in the case of Google, due to the unparalleled power that it currently exerts over news publishers and advertisers alike.”

The recommendation is part of a government inquiry into the power of digital platforms, and the latest salvo in a battle between the media companies.

News Corp “has been lobbying governments across the world to take tougher regulatory action against digital giants such as Google and Facebook,” the Financial Times reports.

The firm controls roughly 60% of Australia’s daily newspaper circulation and has been a regular critic of intrusive media regulation in Australia and elsewhere, the paper adds.

Rodney Tiffen, professor of political science at University of Sydney, says “there is an irony in this call for regulatory intervention and divestment from a company controlled by Murdoch.”

This demand for the government to enforce divestment on Google “sounds like more of a cry of indignation, rather than a realistic hope of action,” he added.

News Corp’s complaint is the latest in a global campaign against the outsized power of US tech giants, CNN Money reports.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren released an aggressive plan this week to disband Amazon, Facebook and Google if she makes it to the White House.

In a statement, she said that the companies use their market power to “squash small businesses and innovation.”

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