back to article Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

Rupert Murdoch's minions have written to the European Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia, urging him to mete out stern punishment to Google in the ongoing search market dominance probe. The minion in question is News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson and his urgings are detailed in a letter he sent to Almunia last …

  1. poopypants

    Hmmm

    Is it good PR for Google to be attacked by Rupert Murdoch?

    1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
      Gimp

      Re: Hmmm

      Yes it is,

      But at least Google isn't actively publishing links to people's hacked phone messages. That would be a bit evil.

      Now if the Scots could get Rup to vote No for Independence, I suspect the Yeses will just pile in,

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        "Now if the Scots could get Rup to vote No for Independence, I suspect the Yeses will just pile in,"

        He's already come out in support of Yes.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Both of you beat me to it.

      Have some upvotes.

    3. Anonymoist Cowyard
      Megaphone

      Re: Hmmm

      Knowing that every Google thing I do or own hurts the truly evil Murdoch even more, makes me happy to buy and use even more Google stuff.

    4. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Hmmm

      Why won't that evil old git just do a Maxwell.

  2. EssEll
    Pint

    Pot, kettle, etc

    You could cut the irony with a knife. Beer for having the sheer balls to be so hypocritical.

  3. GregC

    Can't be arsed to read all the Murdochian bull

    As title. That said, Google may well be too big, too rich, and too powerful for most of our good, but if in some way they really did "destroy" News Corp and the rest of Murdoch's empire then you'd find me doing the happy dance...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't be arsed to read all the Murdochian bull

      So you'd sell future generations down the river rather than admit Murdoch had a point?

      Which is rather like stabbing yourself in the head to cure a headache.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Can't be arsed to read all the Murdochian bull

        So you'd sell future generations down the river rather than admit Murdoch had a point?

        Yes, risking the genetic purity of our precious bodily fluids is worth it to utterly destroy the Murd'hochian spawn of Satan once and for all.

  4. Red Bren

    Is this the same virulently anti-EU Murdoch that's now begging for protection from potential competition?

    Perhaps while their at it, the EU could investigate the moribund pay tv market?

    1. Rikkeh

      Pay TV is in fact currently under investigation. The Commission really doesn't like the fact that you can't get a Pay TV subscription for one Member State in another. Seems to be a pretty flagrant interference with the principle of the single market, and I'm not sure how justifiable it is.

      Mrs Murphy, aka the Premiership pub football landlady who bought the Greek feed, was only successfully prosecuted because she showed the footage publicly (meaning copyright kicked in). Had she consumed the content in the privacy of her own home she would've been fine. Funnily enough, the Premier League's private prosecution of Murphy seems to have been the trigger for the Commission to sit up and take notice of the practice.

      See: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-15_en.htm

      One to watch for the politics. If the EU *does* find against Pay TV practices, Murdoch will spit blood (even more than he would've done otherwise) on Brexit if we get a referendum in 2017. Then again, the EU might get serious brownie points with the British public for allowing them to get half price football subscriptions.

  5. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Much as you may hate him...

    ... he's right. Google's "Don't be evil" maxim is long dead, buried beneath a mountain of corporate greed, and the potential to control people simply by weighting their search results favourabl, or plugging in Google-suited content is nothing short of terrifying.

    There are those who simply refuse to see this (or possibly who are paid to say they don't) - but before the downvoting begins, consider this: if Google rises to a point where it can circumvent even international law (and given the current situation, I'd wager five years is not too inaccurate), it means that a privately owned corporation has greater power than any government.

    In other words, the people we elect to (supposedly) represent us and run our towns, cities, countries and world will be subservient to an unelected corporate body.

    This is not just about privacy any more - it's about freedom.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      Were you around when BsB was shafted by Murdoch and Thatcher?

      Were you here to witness the privatisation of Telecomms to enable the use of the satellites?

      Were you here to see Wapping?

      Do you remember when sports was about sports and NOT rinsing the public while totally screwing over football?

      The bitter fighting between Murdoch annd Maxwell?

      or even 'My lovely horse running in the Chipping Norton Fields'

      Possibly not

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Much as you may hate him...

        @Elmer Phud - Actually, I was.

        As I expect I'll be around when people wake up to the fact that a world not too dissimilar to George Orwell's 1984 has come to be - albeit run by the corporation rather than the ministries - and there's nothing they can do about it.

        I'm not saying I approve of Murdoch - far from it.

        @Big_Ted - I do use another search engine. But the masses do not. The fact that the word "Google" has become synonymous with "web search" is testament to this.

        Because of this, Google have the capacity to control the decisions made by a lot of people - we have heard allegations of Google manipulating search results to lower competitors rankings, and we know that Facebook have been running pychological experiments with newsfeeds. It's this capacity for manipulation that's dangerous.

        I'm just shocked at how blind some people are - in order to escape the evils of the past, they run to willingly embrace something that is far worse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Much as you may hate him...

          "we have heard allegations of Google manipulating search results to lower competitors rankings"

          I've heard allegations of a lot of things, lots of them aren't true. When they come form a "competitor" or someone with a grudge to hold you do have to wonder the real motive for the allegation?

          Google know full well that everyone could switch to Microsoft tomorrow - in fact it takes more effort to use Google, you have to specify it as your search engine and you have to download Chrome if you are using anything other than a Chromebook or Google Play Android device.

          All Google need to do is create the best search engine for consumers and people will still use it. As soon as they start filling it with all unwanted Google crap people will leave. There is no investment by a user into the search engine - unlike an OS for example.

          Google are trying to create a "knowledge engine" and they don't just use Google services for this - much information comes from Wikipedia for instance. However if you were building a knowledge system for your very own search engine and you were thinking about all the great things to do when people search for a location such as travel time, directions, links into your calendar etc would you

          a) Speak to your own Mapping people who have invested millions in a rapidly evolving mapping system who can incorporate features quickly and will not suddenly change their api without warning

          b) Contact all your competitors with a list of requirements, going through months of negotiations and hope they can deliver a unified platform without changing their API and will continue to make updates to it on demand just to benefit them

          Me, I'd choose a),

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Much as you may hate him...

          Tell you what Ryoko, you write a seach engine, radical new algorithm, lets imagine it's hugely successful, and then let's imagine the same bunch of arseholes suddenly come out and scream at you that you're hurting their business, you're evil, you're etc.

          They demand you release the algorithm, what do you do?

          They demand you aren't allowed to change your algorithm, what do you do?

          They demand you must carry links to them on page 1, what do you do?

          The EU then get's involved fines you 10% of your turnover and you must accede to the demands, what do you do?

          And all this was labelled by you as "freedom". I don't think you have a clue what the word means.

          "I'm just shocked at how blind some people are - in order to escape the evils of the past, they run to willingly embrace something that is far worse."

          Your right, you're so right. Google giving away their loads of their software as open source, tweaking their ranking algorithm, and saying we have the best maps service so when someone searches for a postcode lets give them a link is MUCH MUCH MORE EVIL than employing private investigators to hack phones, bolstering popularity by creating pedophile hysteria and bribing policemen for stories, etc, etc, etc.

          I think you have absolutely no sense of perspective, a trait that seems common in the Google are big, I hate big, big equals evil bandwagon.

          1. Arbiter

            Being on a bandwagon doesn't mean you're wrong

            Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I think that big = evil is a fairly reasonable generalisation. When a company is publicly owned (ie you can buy shares) there is a decoupling of responsibility from profit. The only thing preventing most large companies from being overtly evil is ineffectual mediocrity shackled by enormous bureaucracy, and an inability to innovate caused by the same decoupling. They can't be seen to gamble with shareholder money, innovation is always a gamble, therefore they cannot innovate. Instead they engage in refinement of proven technology and call it innovation.

            Google is dangerous because it is a freak amongst titans: it actually does engage in genuine innovation and it isn't ineffectual or mediocre. Because there is no coupling between profit and responsibility, if Google isn't evil now it's only a matter of time and changing circumstance.

            Governments are arguably a kind of publicly owned corporation defined by national boundaries. I think my observations about bureaucracy and inability to innovate are even more applicable to them.

        3. Nuke
          WTF?

          @RyokuMas - Re: Much as you may hate him...

          Wrote :- "- we have heard allegations of Google manipulating search results to lower competitors rankings

          Actually I am sick of Google giving links to their competitors in search results. For example, I have just Googled for "monmouth plumbers" (near where I live) and the top results are all competing directories :- ratedpeople, yell, mybuilder, thompsonlocal and further down are 192, cylex, and yelp.

          It's stupid. If I wanted to look in Thompsons or Yell I would have looked there in the first place. If I look under plumbers in the paper Yellow pages, I see plumbers, not instructions to "Look in Thompsons instead!". If I search for Monmouth plumbers I want to be given Monmouth plumbers, not other f#&king search sites. The Web is awash with too many search sites. I am told on good authority (ie someone who works there) that Google include their competitors in search results to avoid being accused of monopoly practice - it is obviously not working though.

          "Facebook have been running pychological experiments with newsfeeds"

          WTF is that to do with Google?

    2. Big_Ted
      Facepalm

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      Calm down dear and use another search engine.

      Also don't buy an android phone, stear clear of most of the internet and wear a tin foil hat and you might be safe......

      Sheesh but some people forget that you can live without the interwebs altogether, mankind did after all for thousands of years.

      1. Arbiter

        Re: Much as you may hate him...

        I don't', I don't, meh, don't be silly, don't be absurd and you cannot live in a world unaffected by the internet unless you are capable of time travel. You might find some forgotten corner of the world where there's no connectivity but your world will nevertheless be affected by it, however indirectly. Significantly affected.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      "control people simply by weighting their search results favourabl"

      Search for "Newspaper" in the UK and in "The Sun" will be in the top 10 results - it's being generous to call it a newspaper. Therefore they haven't wiped them out of the search results for being unkind.

      The changes they make to their search algorithms are, understandably, not published but hints often are and SEO blogs normally get most of the gist of the changes. Over the last few years all the changes I can remember have been positive for the user. They are reducing in the rankings Search Engine Optimised sites so 'normal' sites become more prominent.

      The complaints of F'dem were based around the time when meta search engines were dropped. If you remeber that time it was when you clicked a link that to you to a list of search results (which then often took you to another list of search results). The only business model was to get Google to put you on their front page for free by using strong arm SEO tactics so that you could make referral money from links. They were a pain for everyone - you couldn't search for a product without having pages and pages of these meta search engines. F'dems complaint "we were a competitor to Google so they dropped our ranking"! Seriously!

      I have not heard of one site who has shown any evidence that they were dropped down rankings because "Google didn't like them". All reports have been SEO ones and the algorithm has changed.

      As for News Corp - well if you want to talk about a layer "above the Government", look no further. Hundreds of meetings with the top people in Government, most enjoying free holidays courtesy of Rupert M. It has long been know that the political parties will bend over backwards to not upset him as he really can change the democratic process - controlled the most read papers in the UK. News Corps influence on the UK, if not other parts of the World too, is far far higher than Google. The fact that Google are getting a bit more powerful (and making sooo much money) is the only thing upsetting dear old Rup.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      Self opinionated tosh.

      It's not a question of us "simply refusing to see it", and by saying that you're basically saying "I am the light, if you don't realize this you are stupid". Why don't you prove a single one of your accusations.

      Google's "Don't be evil" maxim is long dead - Prove It

      buried beneath a mountain of corporate greed - Prove it

      where it can circumvent even international law - It can't any more than any other rich company

      privately owned corporation has greater power than any government - They don't

      will be subservient to an unelected corporate body - They won't be

      This is not just about privacy any more it's about freedom - Balls

      Whereas Murdoch and his people. History has a great many documented occasions where they've gone far far beyond the pail.

      This is nothing more than a rich oligarch trying to stop change, trying to enforce the status quo, because the status quo has made him and his family rich and that is the ONLY thing he cares about. He is terrified that the world may change, Google aren't perfect but they are one of the things out there changing this world.

      I think some change will do us good.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      Murdoch himself has never stood for any principle other than his own naked self-interest. This much is clear. He's perfectly happy to (for example) collaborate with repressive regimes- for example, dropping the BBC World Service from his Star TV to appease the Chinese government- with no sign of any moral qualms. He's quite clearly not bothered about the "free" in "free market" so long as it's his competition being shut out and not him.

      He'll happily screw over or destroy anyone in his way, and I've long thought that- in general- the guy comes across as a textbook example of a sociopath. (*) (Subsequent reports of the way he brushed off Anne Diamond's questions on him ruining people's lives as if she were nothing and his vendetta against her strongly reinforced this gut instinct).

      And this is the problem with him saying *anything*; people are inclined to oppose it on that principle.

      That the guy is evil, hypocritical, amoral vermin, however, doesn't make what he's saying about Google here entirely false. Of course, he wouldn't be saying that if it didn't suit him; but sometimes the self-interest of a sociopath like Murdoch lines up with what's good for society in general. That it's utterly hypocritical coming from him or that he'd be taking the opposite position if he were top dog doesn't change it in this case.

      (*) The only thing in his defence may be that he so *obviously* comes across as sociopathic and unprincipled rather than (apparently) trying to hide it with the stereotypical psycopath's charm. However, I'd put this down more to the fact he- rightly- knows he is powerful and influential enough that he doesn't need to do this- he's not a politician, he's the one pulling the strings.

    6. fishbone
      WTF?

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      That seems like fairly tin foil hatly logic, use some other search engine or better yet none at all as a matter of fact I can barely believe you'd use use a device that can be tracked at all

      P.S. Sorry to barge in Big Ted small screen and a short break, need to speed up my browsing.

    7. Tex Arcana

      Re: Much as you may hate him...

      "it means that a privately owned corporation has greater power than any government."

      Um, newsflash: most governments ARE privately-owned corporations these days...

  6. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Mushroom

    World domination?

    This coming from the very company that has totally screwed football and cricket?

    Lied and bullied aboout Hillsborough?

    Has the NRA gobshites hosting Faux News?

    Bought rival newspapers just to close them down - then bring in the ploice when employees complained?

    Ran topless pics of barely 16yr olds?

    And now assumes that I need to goo too Google for Torrents?

    There isn't enough 'off' after 'fuck' for these parasites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: World domination?

      Surely that should be 'ran tasteless topless photos' it matters not whether the person was 16, 36 or 60, its still bloody tasteless in a daily newspaper! Hell page 3 photos are just tasteless...

      Now that is not saying that nudity is bad, and I am very much in favour of the law being changed to stop police harassing nudists or women who are shirtless....

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: World domination?

      Kill of news international?

      Where is the downside?

    3. Vic

      Re: World domination?

      Ran topless pics of barely 16yr olds?

      To be fair - at the time, that was both legal and acceptable to society as a whole.

      With hindsight, it probably shouldn't have been - but we can't really hold Murdoch to account for society's screw-ups 40 years ago.

      In every other respect, though, you're absolutely right - he can fuck right off.

      Vic.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maximise income for Google and yet punish small companies

    such as my own own, poorly fish&chip parlour, laments Rupert Murdoch

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the losers will be those who create content and, undoubtedly, the people of Europe.

    Personal message from the usual champion for content creators and people of Europe, lol

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As much as I'm liking Googles ethics less and less...

    Anything that stops or damages the Rupert Murdoch propaganda machine gets my thumbs up.

  10. MacroRodent Silver badge

    The real agenda

    Google search is popular because it still is the best. I occasionally start Bing because it is activated by the search key of my WP7 phone, but very often it does not find stuff that Google finds, or the results are less relevant.. And other search engines like "DuckDuckGo" are usually "meta searches" that ride on Google's back, and would be nothing without it.

    Perhaps this is precisely the reason for the News Corp complaint: If search engines are crippled, they and other publishers can act as gatekeepers of information, just like in the good old days.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: The real agenda

      I think Bing is quite comparable to Google these days in the quality of its results. Occasionally I'll use it if for no other reason than I don't like Google knowing all my business.

      I'm not sure what this has to do with Newscorp and any objection they have to Google most surely has an ulterior motive. They're certainly not standing up to the poor oppressed small sites in their complaint any more than Verizon is standing up for deaf/blind people when fighting net neutrality.

  11. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Dear Google, please!

    "'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS"

    Can you kill them in FOUR years? Please? Or maybe in THREE, if we'll be nice?

    1. Eugene Crosser

      Re: Dear Google, please!

      Right! I mean, do we have to wait FIVE YEARS for this bore to be killed at last?

    2. Thunderbird 2

      Re: Dear Google, please!

      Is like that old TV Program "Name that Tune" ?

      Would somebody please bid "Kill News International in One"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unsavoury and unlawful

    ..that would be hacking into people's phones to publish tawdry stories in your gutter rag newspapers to boost sales then...

    Oh..,you meant Google's actions and motivations

    1. Arbiter

      In Murdoch's defense...

      ...so far as Murdoch is defensible, he behaves as he does because you Brits keep buying his "gutter rags". To quote Yes, Minister "The people who read the Sun don't care who runs the country so long as she has big tits."

  13. David 138

    lol

    We all long for the days when what we read and heard about was dictated by the Newspapers and their points of view.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Get Lost Murdoch

    I hope the piracy from Google sinks your nasty company. At least Google are upfront about how they spy on you rather than hacking phones, bribing policemen etc. Oh and throw into the mix shit expensive TV and newspapers not fit to wipe your arse on. The sooner Murdoch goes to hell the world will be a better place.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Get Lost Murdoch

      I try to do my best.

      I supported OnDigital

      I torrented things he took off FTA TV (then bought the DVD)

      I refuse to even read his bog paper.

  15. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Hmm,

    Has that well known grasper of 'nationality for convenience' now become European?

    What stupid country has let him have yet another passport?

  16. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Well I think he's pushing against an open door

    The Germans got the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society role in the new European Commission. Subject to the Parliament not vetoing it anyway (which is unlikely). Apparently the first interview he gave after getting the gig was to say that "Google's market power could be limited". Reuters linky-linky.

    I predicted this a couple of months ago (got quite a few downvotes for it too). When Merkel changed her mind on Juncker getting the EU Commissioner gig, after agreeing it with Cameron. One of the reasons was massive, sudden pressure from the German media. Led by Axel Springer (Bilt and De Welt). Who just happen to have a long-running dispute with Google (rather like Murdoch I suspect), and just happened to have met with Juncker's team beforehand. Now Juncker's new team have set out their opposition to Google, before even being appointed. I suspect there'll be a few changes in direction with EC regulation of t'interwebs, as the Germans are a good deal more concerned about privacy than most other countries, and it's been a live political issue there for years. linky to an EU thinktank

  17. Otto is a bear.

    And

    Do you think he's a tad jealous, because he can't afford to buy Google. Somehow if he could, I think he'd behave worse than Google do.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    One rich guy against another(s)

    These guys are worse than 13 yr old girls, she's got more than I do.... somebody please make life fair!

    Piss off all you way too rich m*fckers, go find something to play with.

    A search engine is just that... what if I'm doing research for a paper about all the crap on the inter webs? If it is all blocked, where would I find my info? Pay for the option to see it? Puleeease think again.

    1. Nicko777

      Re: One rich guy against another(s)

      Such sexism, you obviously haven't seen a 12 year old boy say the same thing like I have. All youngsters do it.....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News Ltd claiming to be an ethical company? pot meets kettle

    "Rupert Murdoch Tweet Questions Google’s Ethics, Twitter Dies From Irony .. Remember phone hacking?" ref

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ha ha.

    Other search engines suck balls simple as, thats why I use google. That and the blank white page. Cant stand bings stupid pretty picture.

  21. BrentRBrian

    Poor poor man

    Can't blame your business model issues on yourself, could you.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the tip

    Wait 5 years, then bitchslap Google. Two problems solved.

  23. Busby

    This made me chuckle "comes at a crucial moment in the history of the free flow of information and of a healthy media in Europe and beyond" would love to know their definition of healthy media. I for one don't see the current situation largely driven by Murdoch of a small number of people owning so many newspapers and TV stations as healthy for anyone other than the media barons. Perhaps if he had bought Google instead of blowing the cash on myspace he would be singing a different tune.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There should be balance in the world.

    Those who want to lock everything down and monetise things should be counterbalanced by the freetard open movement.

  25. Tom 13

    For all that Murdoch's letter is self serving

    there is a center of truth to it that ought to be the undoing of Google.

    If they can scan user data, even users who aren't registered on GMail, so well they can precisely place ads targeting only that user's interests, it should be no burden at all for them to remove dodgy links from their search engine. And excessive burden was precisely the reason search engines and ISPs were given the "not an editor" exception on the copyright infringement.

    Now you can argue that the law should be changed to make many of those links completely legal, but until such time as that changes, if they are legal, and there is no excessive burden Google should be required to comply with the law.

  26. Steven Roper

    I would be quite happy

    if Google simply stopped linking to his sites altogether. I'm sick of Googling some current event and finding half the first page links to articles hidden behind Murdoch's paywalls. Especially considering that if I set my user-agent string to simulate the googlebot I can often access the articles without restriction. This means he's showing one thing to the googlebot and another to regular browsers - which I was under the impression was a huge no-no in Google's books, guaranteed to get you ranked off their index. Not to mention the sheer ironic hypocrisy in his doing this, and then complaining about Google scanning his articles and reprinting them in their news searches!

    So it'd be great if Google could just wake up to this and give his shit-sites the go-by and link me to actual news sites, instead of that evil bastard's pay-per-view propaganda rags.

  27. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Own goal

    The shite that is News Corp publishing and TV is destroying itself from within.

    Have you read/see that crap lately.

    It's complete bollocks.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google contributing to the destruction of News International? I'd say that's clear evidence Google are living their Do No Evil' mantra to the full

  29. Nicko777

    Google to buy out Murdoch Empire

    If I was running Google I would CTRL_ALT_DEL him by buying him out or buying controlling shares.

  30. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    FAIL

    He believes it

    I think he is so warped to his sense of entitlement that he honestly believes the hypocritical bullshit he spews.

    In his eyes, what he does is just, and what others do isn't, and the big injustices are against him.

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