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German Google Data Probe Targets Digital News Dominance

 |  January 15, 2023

A German investigation by Internet giant Google is hitting the heart of what enables big tech to dominate markets in the digital age: data. That’s according to Andreas Mund, head of Germany’s antitrust office and one of the sector’s fiercest critics.

In what is shaping up to be a landmark antitrust case, the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn, Germany, revealed this week that it has sent Alphabet Inc.’s Google a formal warning over the company’s user terms. The regulator claims the company gains a competitive advantage by limiting consumer choice about how to access consumer data. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Mundt said the case will focus on the benefits Google derives from its data collection practices.

Read more: German Cartel Office Takes Aim At Google Data Processing

“Rarely does anyone get data at this speed, meaning in real time, and at this scale, and with this variety, meaning from their own websites and many other websites,” Mundt said. “With that much data, of course you can do more than competitors.”

Mundt is using the investigation to replace the powers his office was given two years ago to address key issues related to the digital economy, which he calls a “top priority” for his agency. Let’s explain. The Google case builds on the 2019 Facebook decision in which the Cartel Office made global headlines by attacking the social media giant’s data-driven business model.