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Google rejects Aussie call for scrutiny

Reuters / Share:
Letters spell the word "Alphabet" as they are seen on a computer screen with a Google search page in this photo illustration taken in Paris, France, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google has rejected calls by Australia’s competition regulator for tougher scrutiny of its operations, denying that it enjoys market power in online searches and advertising, documents published yesterday showed.

The global giant was responding to recommendations made late last year by the watchdog, such as increased scrutiny and a new regulatory body to monitor the dominance of tech giants in online advertising and news markets.

“The preliminary report bases many of its recommendations on the mistaken premise that Google has market power in search, search advertising, and news media referrals,” Google wrote in a Feb 18 statement published by the regulator.

“Google faces fierce competition from other providers, including vertical search sites like Amazon, Expedia, Domain and Carsales.com, many of which users access directly through mobile apps.”

The regulator had said the enormous market power of firms such as Google, which has a 94 percent share of web searches in Australia, and their opaque methods for ranking advertisements, gave them the ability and incentive to favour their businesses over advertisers.

In preliminary recommendations that are subject to change, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also said the new regulator should have powers to investigate how the companies rank advertisements and news articles.

Google rejected such a measure as “unnecessary”.

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