European Media Tycoon: ‘We are afraid of Google’


One of Europe’s leading media tycoons has accused Google of abusing its monopoly position in the digital sector to build up a ‘superstate’ free of anti-trust and privacy laws.

Mathias Dopfner, chief executive of Germany’s Axel Springer SE publishing house, stated Google’s motto was “if you don’t want us to finish you off, you better pay.”

Dopfner, in an open letter, addressed to Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt published in Wednesday’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has said that the search engine giant is operating a system that “in less reputable circles would be called a protection racket,” by discriminating against competitors in its search rankings.

Mr Dopfner’s letter was published in response to a column written by Eric Schmidt published earlier in the same newspaper.

Döpfner admitted that even after being the boss of Europe’s largest newspaper publishing firm, he is very much afraid of the search engine giant as his own company is completely reliant on Google.

“Google does not need us. But we need Google,” Döpfner wrote.

“We – and many others – are dependent on Google,” he added. “We’re afraid of Google.”

Dopfner also said he is worried about the search giant’s future plans. Referring to the Google’s recent high-profile acquisitions which include robot-manufacturer Boston Dynamics, and last week’s purchase of drone satellite company Titan Aerospace, Dopfner said “Does this mean that Google is planning to operate in a legal vacuum, without the hassle of anti-trust and privacy? A kind of superstate?”

Google is yet to comment on Döpfner’s remarks.