Media Tycoon Slams Google in Open Letter

Google is accused of trying to create a superstate where privacy laws don't exist

By on April 17th, 2014 14:18 GMT

Mathias Dopfner, top exec at Axel Springer, one of the largest media companies in Europe, has criticized Google and has said that his corporation is afraid of the Internet giant and its power.

In an open letter he addresses to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Dopfner asks whether Google intends to create a brand new superstate where anti-trust and privacy laws mean nothing.

Axel Springer runs about 200 newspapers and magazines, and also has a big presence online, as well as in television and radio. Even so, the letter written by Dopfner was published in a newspaper that is not owned by his company.

The message comes as a reaction to a column signed by Eric Schmidt in which he talks about the advertising relationship between Google and Axel Springer, which has been challenging at times before they signed a multi-year deal.

While Dopfner admits that he is ok with the relationship between the two companies and a general admirer of Google and its business success, there was actually little choice for Axel Springer in that matter.

Basically, the CEO says that there’s no other search engine that could help increase the company’s online reach. Axel Springer makes about 62 percent of its profits from the online business it runs, but that has them concerned about how big Google is and the role it plays on the Internet.

The exec has also talked about the antitrust dispute between Google and the European Commission, where the American giant was accused of favoring its own products in search results. The issue was in fact resolved a few months back, although the final deal has yet to be signed.

Regardless, the Dopfner chief says that the agreement reached between Google and the Commission wasn’t a compromise. Instead, he believes that the European officials have “sanctioned the introduction of a business model, which in less honorable circles is called extortion.”

Basically, he’s none too happy that Google would still be allowed to discriminate against competitors.

Google isn’t the only company that the exec targeted in his rant. He has also set eyes on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. He was particularly annoyed by a statement that Zuck made regarding the way Facebook stored data and protected users’ privacy.

“And Zuckerberg said: ‘I do not understand your question. Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear,’” says Dopfner, admitting that he often thinks about this statement, which he dubs “terrible.”

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