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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Germany, Strong Words Over Google's Power: "Why we fear Google"


    BERLIN — A trans-Atlantic war of words — and profits — over the future of the Internet heated up on Wednesday when the head of Germany’s largest publisher admitted that “we are afraid of Google” and suggested that European authorities were colluding with the American Internet giant to develop a “business model that in less honorable circles would be called extortion.”

    Mathias Döpfner, the chief executive officer of Axel Springer, lashed out a week after the Google chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, mounted a spirited defense of Google’s practices and charged that “heavy-handed regulation” in some places “risks creating an innovation desert in Europe” that would ultimately threaten its well-being.

    Mr. Schmidt’s remarks, published in the German media, were themselves a response to an attack by another German Internet entrepreneur, Robert M. Maier, who founded the Berlin start-up Visual Meta in 2008 and sold a majority stake to Springer in 2011, and published a long article titled “Fear of Google” on April 3.

    While Mr. Döpfner was careful to stress his many years of contact with Mr. Schmidt, and indeed their recent deals not only to include Springer content in Google News but also to sell ad space — a deal Mr. Schmidt in his letter termed “path breaking” — there was no mistaking the fear, anger and puzzlement in the German’s attack.

    “We are afraid of Google,” Mr. Döpfner wrote. “I must say this so clearly and honestly since scarcely one of my colleagues dares to do this publicly. And as the biggest of the small fry, we must perhaps be the first to speak plainly in this debate.”

    “The discussion about Google’s power is not a conspiracy theory propagated by people mired in yesteryear,” he added, noting that Springer is making a big digital play and now reaps 62 percent of its profits from digital business. But he likened Springer’s relations to David against the Goliath of Google, whom he went on to accuse of harboring illusions of world domination.

    Google controls so much data, becoming the global equivalent of what Deutsche Post once was to mail or Deutsche Telekom to making phone calls in Germany, which is why it is so important for the American giant to be transparent and fair, Mr. Döpfner wrote.

    Attacking what Mr. Schmidt had characterized as Google’s willingness to forge a compromise with the European Commission over a four-year-old complaint about its practices, Mr. Döpfner starkly declared, “This is not a compromise.”

    “This is the introduction,” he continued, “sanctioned by an E.U. authority, of that kind of business practice which in less honorable circles is called extortion.”

    Google did not respond to requests for comment.

    The proposed solution to the European tussle with Google would still leave the American company in a position to discriminate against competitors in search results, Mr. Döpfner insisted. “You know very well,” he told Mr. Schmidt, “that this would signify a long-term discrimination against and weakening of any kind of competition. And that Google would just extend its market dominance.”

    Turning to the relevant European Union official, Joaquín Almunia, the competition commissioner, Mr. Döpfner suggested that he should ask himself whether he wants virtually his last important decision before stepping down this autumn to be an act “that would go down in history as the nail in the coffin of Europe’s already somewhat sclerotic Internet economy.”

    Instead, he suggested, Brussels should recognize a historic opportunity to exert political influence over the digital future and at the same time lend the European Union “what it in recent years has so painfully lacked, namely an emotional narrative.”

    The European Commission and a spokesman for Mr. Almunia said they had not seen the Springer text and had no immediate comment.

    Mr. Almunia has already reached a preliminary agreement with Google giving publishers a way to remove their content from Google News without facing penalties in search results.

    But that draft accord falls far short of publishers’ demands, in part because Mr. Almunia declined to examine whether Google’s use of their content represented a violation of intellectual property law. Mr. Almunia told the publishers that doing so would go beyond the limits of his duties as competition policy commissioner. The publishers reacted furiously in February, calling the accord “fundamentally defective.”

    In his letter, Mr. Döpfner insisted that Europeans, at any rate, were changing the business equation for Google and other American digital giants because of wariness engendered by the disclosures that large amounts of data are collected by Internet concerns and could be scrutinized by United States intelligence.

    He concluded by asking Mr. Schmidt whether he wanted to wait for Google’s monopoly to be broken, either by politicians or — if still possible — by consumers. “Less is sometimes more,” the German wrote. “You can triumph to the death.”

    In reply to written questions submitted through and returned from Springer’s communications department, Mr. Döpfner said he had wanted to write not about Mr. Schmidt, but to him directly. “We are classic frenemies,” he stated.

    “I had always believed that Google had learned from the experiences of IBM, Microsoft and above all Rockefeller,” he continued. “I thought they would rein themselves in and not want everything in all fields in order to avoid certain debates about concentration and to head off the danger of being broken apart. Perhaps this debate will help to achieve a certain self-limitation. Everyone would benefit from that.”

    His attack appeared intended not just to address his bigger business and political questions but also to put the brakes on Google, particularly in Germany, a market that it has historically found more difficult to conquer than other European countries. At least in part, that is due to the post-Nazi, post-Communist legacy of privacy concerns that have also fueled anger here over American government snooping, including on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

    Since entering the German market, Google has grappled with the country’s suspicions over the reach of its services. For years, its “” domain was in the hands of a company in Hamburg, and only after a long legal battle was Google able to secure the rights in 2012. Germany also became the first country to force Google to allow people to opt-out of having their homes shown in its Street View program, begun in 2010, following an intense backlash against the provider.

    Mr. Döpfner made a point of stressing diverse statements from Mr. Schmidt, the Google co-founder Larry Page and others in the past that he interpreted as hinting at a desire for world domination.

    Pointing to recent Google moves to build driverless cars, or monitor what citizens do in their own homes, or acquire knowledge of how to build drones, Mr. Döpfner taunted: “Forget Big Brother — Google Is Better!”

    An open letter to Eric Schmidt (alemão):

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Tradução BING

    An open letter to Eric Schmidt Why we fear Google

    For the first time, a German Manager confesses the total dependence of his company by Google here. What the publishers are witnessing today is a harbinger: soon we are all Google.

    By Mathias Döpfner

    Dear Eric Schmidt,

    in your text "the chances of growth" in the F.A.Z. reply to a post, the same newspaper a few days previously released under the title "fear of Google". You mention the Publisher Axel Springer is again and again. I would like to respond in the spirit of transparency with an open letter to illuminate a few things from our point of view.

    We both know each other for many years, have, as you write, long and often about the relationship between the European publishers and Google discussed. As you know, I'm a great admirer of the entrepreneurial success of Google. In just a few years, since 1998, a company is created, employing worldwide nearly 50,000 people, last year generated sales of about $60 billion and currently has a market capitalization of more than $350 billion.

    Google is no alternative

    Google is not only the largest search engine in the world, but with YouTube as the largest video platform (which at the same time the second largest search engine is), with chrome of the biggest browser, the most widely used E-Mail Service Gmail and Android the largest operating system for mobile devices. Her article rightly indicates what fabulous Google has impetus for the growth of the digital economy. In the year 2013, Google has made $14 billion profit. I tip my hat for this outstanding entrepreneurial achievements.

    In your text, you indicate the marketing cooperation between Google and Axel Springer. Also we were delighted about it. The one or the other reader now has that but so interpreted that Axel Springer was obviously schizophrenic: on the one hand, Axel Springer part a European antitrust lawsuit against Google and argues with the Group on the enforcement of the German performance rights which prohibits the theft of content, on the other hand not only traffic caused by Google, but also in the marketing of Axel Springer benefited from residual places of its online advertising from Google's algorithm. That's right. You can call this schizophrenic. Or liberal. Or, and this is the truth, to say it with a favorite word of our Chancellor: no alternative.

    David and Goliath not meet at eye level

    We know no alternative that offers even remotely comparable technological requirements to the automated advertising sales. And we must not abandon this source of income, because we the money urgent need for technological investments in the future. Which is why, more and more other publishers do the same. We know also not search engine alternative to preserve or increase our online range. A large proportion of journalistic quality media mostly gets its traffic via Google.

    In other, mainly non-journalistic areas the customer even almost exclusively through Google finds its way to the provider. That means in plain language: we - and many others - are dependent on Google. Google currently has a search engine market share from 91.2 percent in Germany. There is the statement "if Google doesn't fit you, you can Yes list you leave and go somewhere else" about as realistic as the recommendation on an opponent of nuclear power, but simply on electricity refrain. He - can't do that as long as he wants to - join not the Amish in real life just.

    Google's employees are but always sought friendly to us and other publishers, but at eye level we don't talk. How should we? Google does not need us. But we need Google. And also economically we move into other galaxies. With fourteen billion annual profit, Google makes about twenty times as much profit as Axel Springer. Each quarter a turnover more profit than the other in an entire year. Our relationship is that of Goliath Google to the David Axel Springer. If Google changes an algorithm, the traffic to 70Prozent break at one of our affiliated companies in a few days. This is a real case. And that this subsidiary company is a competitor of Google, coincidence is it safe.

    Our values, our image, our social order

    We are afraid of Google. I must say that once so clearly and honestly, because it dares hardly any of my colleagues to do so publicly. And as the largest among the little ones, we need to talk may also in this debate as the first plaintext. You have written it yourself in your book: "we are convinced that portals such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are far more powerful than most people know. Their power is based on the ability to grow exponentially. With the exception of biological viruses, there's nothing spreads with such speed, efficiency and aggressiveness like this technology platforms, and this gives their creators, owners, and users of new power."

    The discussion about the power of Google is no conspiracy theory of diehards. You speak of the new power of creators, owners and users. Among users, I'm not sure in the long run. Since fainting followed by power quickly. And exactly why we need to have this discussion in the interest of a long-term healthy ecosystem of digital economy now. This applies to the competition. But not only the economic, but also political. It relates to our values, our image and our social order and worldwide – from our perspective - especially the future of Europe.

    Who owns the data?

    According to the circumstances, your group in the various areas of our professional and private everyday life, in the home, in the car, in the health care sector, the design will play a leading role. This is a huge opportunity and an equally large threat. I fear that it is not enough just how you do it, to say that you wanted to make a "better place" from the world.

    The Internet critics Evgeny Morozov has clearly described the attitude that must occupy modern societies here: we have no debate about technology, whose fascinating possibilities are aware of anyone. We have a political debate. Devices and Google's algorithms are not a government program. Or should it not be, at least. Citizens are the ones who have to decide whether we want to what you're asking us to do - and what price we are willing to pay for it.

    The publishers have made their experiences here early--as a harbinger for other sectors and industries. But as long as it (the search engines and aggregators use, but don't want to pay) went only to the expropriation of content, only a few that were interested. But that's changing, if happens the same thing with the personal data of the people. The question of who owns the data, will be one of the main issues of the future.

    Global network monopoly

    You say in your article, the googlekritischen votes would "ultimately criticize the Internet as such and the way that everyone can retrieve information no matter from which place". The opposite is true. Who criticizes Google, criticizes not the Internet. Who, but located on an intact network is, who must criticize Google. For us as a publishing house, the Internet is not a threat, but the greatest chance of in decades. Today, 62 percent of our company's profits are from the digital business. We talk not about the Internet, but only about the role, plays the Google it.

    In this context, the competition complaints against Google, filed four years ago by various European associations of publishers and Internet companies are at the European Commission in Brussels of paramount importance. Google is the prime example of a dominant company. Google defines the infrastructure on the Internet with seventy percent world market share. The next biggest search engine is Baidu in China and that with 16.4 percent, because China is a dictatorship and forbids free access to Google. Then, search engines come with market shares of more than six percent. There are ticket competitors.

    The market is only one part. The share of Google in the online advertising market in Germany is increasing from year to year and is currently around 60 percent. Comparison: the "image"-newspaper, which is considered by the German Cartel Office as dominant for decades (why Axel Springer Pro seven satellite. not allowed to buy 1 or regional newspapers), nine percent market share of advertising in Germany. In comparison, Google is dominant not only in the market, but as it were super dominant in the market.

    Google is responsible for the network, what was the Deutsche Post for mail delivery or Deutsche Telekom for the phone. There were national State monopolies. Today, there is a global network monopoly. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance, whether there are transparent and fair criteria in the search results of Google.


  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    EU officially sanctioned implementation of protection money

    But this fair criteria are not given. Google lists its own products, from E-Commerce to the pages of the own Google +-network, better than competitors, even if they are partially inferior to the consumer, in accordance with the Google algorithm not would appear. The user is still not even clearly pointed that these search results is self advertising. Even if an offer by Google has fewer visitors than that of a competitor, it appears earlier, until it has at some point even more visitors.

    It's called abuse of a dominant position. And everyone has expected that the European cartel Office prohibits this practice. After that, it doesn't look. Rather, the competition Commissioner proposes a "comparison" that will take anyone who kinda looks through the thing, the language. , In your article you say a compromise should be sought with the European Commission Eric. You have taken, if the Commission so decides to the present proposal, an additional advertising money procurement model for Google. Not "painful concessions", but additional revenue would be.

    The Commission proposes all seriousness, the infrastructure-dominant search engine Google may continue to discriminate against competitors in the mission-critical placement of search results. But - and here it comes to balance - a new advertising window at the beginning of the search list would set up, in which the discriminated against companies could afford a ranking. This is not a compromise. This is the EU officially sanctioned introduction of that business model protection money called in less Honorable circles. According to the motto: If you want, that we not going to kill you, you have to pay.

    Knowing what we now think

    You know very well that this would mean a long-term discrimination and weakening any competition. That Google would expand as its market superiority. And that this could weaken further, especially the European digital economy. I can not imagine with the best will, that was what you meant with compromise. But this is not a criticism I do you and Google.

    You as a representative of the company may and must represent your interests. The accusation goes to the competition Commission. Commissioner Almunia should think again about whether it is wise to fabricate that, as quasi last official act what would go down as the nail in the coffin of the already somewhat sclerotic European Internet economy in the history. But above all, it would be a betrayal of the consumer who no longer finds most important and best for him, but profitable for Google - at the end of a betrayal of the basic idea of Google's.

    This also applies to the large and still problematic complex of data safety and data recovery. Since Snowden has thrown the NSA scandal since the close ties between big American online companies and American intelligence have gotten around, the social climate - changed fundamentally in Europe - at least. People have become sensitive to what is happening with your user data.

    No one knows so much about its customers such as Google. Even private or business e-mail messages are read by Gmail and can be evaluated if necessary. You yourself have 2010 said: "we know where you are. We know where you've been. We may know more or less what you're thinking." This is a remarkably honest sentence. The only question is: do that, using this information for commercial purposes not only will users - what has many advantages, but also some creepy downsides - but can get in the hands of the secret services and already reached the part?

    The fuel of the 21st century

    I have in the book "the naked future - what happens in a world that anticipates your every move?" read by Patrick Tucker - the book, whose Zukunftsvision Google considers "inescapable" Chief thinker Vint Cerf-, a scene that sounds like science fiction, but is not: imagine, writes the author, you wake up one day, reading on your phone "good morning! After work, you will meet your ex-girlfriend Vanessa randomly, and she will tell you about their engagement next Sunday. Pretend like you're surprised. Vanessa told anyone yet? But, do not forget to send her a bouquet of flowers on Sunday."

    Suppose you're short, wondering where your phone is white or whether this is a joke, and ignore the message for now. In the evening, then actually run Vanessa about the way. In vague memory of the SMS on your phone you congratulations on the engagement. Vanessa is alarmed. "How do you know?", she asks. "Did you not posted it on Facebook?", you set stutter. "Not yet," says Vanessa and looking away quickly. The flowers do not have to send you.

    Google searches more than half a billion Internet addresses. Google knows more about every digital active citizens, than in his most daring visions in "1984" ever to imagine George Orwell dared. Google is sitting on the entire current data treasure of humanity such as the giant Fafner in the "ring of the Nibelungen": "Here I lie and here." I hope they are aware of the special responsibility of your company. If fossil fuels were the fuel of 20.Jahrhunderts, then data and user profiles are quite sure 21.Jahrhunderts. One must wonder whether competition in the digital age can generally still work if data are so heavily concentrated in the hand of one party.


  4. #4
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Transparent citizens want only dictatorships

    There is a quote from you that worries me in this context. 2009 you said: "If there are things you don't want anybody know anything about it, then you should not do so little." Only the set by Mark Zuckerberg, he said on the podium, while you and I were sitting in the audience of the Sun Valley Conference is even more disturbing. Someone asked how Facebook consider it with the storage of data and the protection of privacy. And Zuckerberg said: "I do not understand your question. If you have nothing to hide, has also nothing to worry about."

    Again, I had to think about this sentence. I find it terrible. I know it's certainly didn't mean that. But behind a mind-set and a view of mankind, which is maintained in totalitarian regimes, but not in liberal societies. The head of the Stasi or an other intelligence agency of a dictatorship could say such phrase. The essence of freedom is precisely that that I am not obligated to disclose all that, what I do, that discretion and, Yes, even secrets I the right, that I can determine what I reveal my. The individual right is a democracy. The transparent citizens want only dictatorship instead of a free press.

    Self submission may be not the last word

    In Brussels officials worry, as it by restricting the cookie making and storage (which you still understand can, clicked on that website about on the 16th of April 2006 at 10:10) now in the Internet the total transparency of users can avoid to strengthen consumer rights. We don't know how this arrangement fails exactly, yet, whether she also does more good than bad. A but now it is set: would there would be a winner: Google. Because Google is regarded in expert circles as absolute leader in the development of technologies, documenting the movements and habits of users without cookies.

    Also fair as regards the Brussels antitrust case on the subject of search, Google has made. Although assuming, that the whole thing in terms of Google's will be decided. But if not, it would be also covered. Concessions and restrictions abgetrotzte in lengthy processes that are restricted to European Google domains would be ineffective at the agreement, Google with Android or chrome could arbitrarily set, perform the search of an Internet address, instead of in an app. So Google of all commitments, linked today to search on the Google domains like, could escape.

    The policy on Europe is bend or wake up? The institutions in Brussels have never been so important. An archaic power issue is to decide. Is there the chance for an autonomous European digital infrastructure or not? Dealing with competitiveness and sustainability. Voluntary self submission may have been the last word of the ancient world. Rather the commitment to success of European digital economy for the European policy could be finally at, what the EU has so sorely lacking in the last few decades: an emotional narrative.

    Supra-State in a law free area

    16 years of data storage and 16 years experience of tens of thousands of IT developers have created a competitive edge, which is no longer Department by purely economic means. Ever since Google bought "Nest", Google knows more precisely what do the people in your own four walls. And now Google is planning even driverless cars, VW to make competition in the longer term, the automotive industry by Toyota. Then Google not only knows where we go with our cars, but even, what we deal with in the car. Forget Big Brother – Google is better!

    Against this background it concerns me very that Google - which has booked just the acquisition of drones manufacturer "Titanium Aerospace" - applies for some time as supporters of planned huge ships and floating worlds of work, cruising on the open sea, so in staatenlosem waters, and can operate. What is the reason for this development? You must be not a conspiracy theorist, to find that disconcerting, especially when you listen to the words of Google founder and major shareholder Larry page.

    He dreams of a place without data protection laws and democratic responsibility. "There are a lot of things that we would like to make, but unfortunately can not do because they are illegal", proclaimed page already 2013혼다 "because there are laws that prohibit them. We should have a few places where we are safe. Where we can find out and try new things, what impact they have on society."

    Does this mean Google is planning the operation in a law free area, without annoying antitrust regulators and privacy for all cases? A kind of State, which pass undisturbed navigates his floating Kingdom on all nation States?

    Google could go ahead to lead by example

    So far, the concerns were: what happens if Google further expands its absolutely dominant market power? Will there be less competition? The European digital economy compared to a few American Super corporations thrown back even further? Be more transparent, certain foreign consumers and third-party - unless further manipulated out of economic or political interests -? And what influence do these factors on our society?

    According to this disturbing news, one must wonder: does Google plan all seriousness the digital supra State, in which a group does of course only good and of course "no harm" its citizens? Please, dear Eric, tell us why our interpretation of what Larry page says and does is a misunderstanding.

    I know that not Google alone cannot solve the problems that are caused by new digital Super authorities such as Amazon and Facebook. But Google could go ahead - to their long-term advantage - to lead by example. The company could create transparency, not only by it lists search results based on clear quantitative criteria, but also by it exposes any algorithm changes. By it does not store IP addresses, cookies to automatically delete after each session and customer behavior only stores and uses, if this is expressly requested by customers. And it explains and proves what is it with his floating headquarters and development laboratories.

    The high price of free culture

    Because the fear of the growing heteronomy through this an allesbestimmende spider in the Web drives not any analog dinosaur who didn't understand the Internet and therefore fear above all new. Rather, there are digital natives, and including the most recent and best informed, have a growing problem with the always more complete control of Google.

    This includes also the fiction of the free culture. On the Internet, in the beautiful colorful Google world, so much seems free: by search services to journalistic publishing offerings. In fact, we pay with our behavior. With the predictability and commercial marketability of our behavior. Who today had a car accident and writes in an E-Mail, can receive tomorrow offer of a manufacturer for a new car on his cell phone. Terribly practical.

    Who today surfing on websites about high blood pressure and about his fitness bracelet jawbone automatically reveals its notorious lack of exercise, can expect tomorrow a higher health insurance premiums. Not practical at all. Just horrible. It could be that it takes not so much longer until more and more people realize that the currency of the own behavior carries a high cost: the freedom of self-determination. And therefore better and cheaper is to pay with some very old-fashioned: just with money.

    You can win up to death

    Google is the world's dominant banking of behavior currency. Nobody capitalized his knowledge of us as successful as Google. This is impressive and dangerous.

    Dear Eric Schmidt, you don't need my advice, and of course I write this from the perspective of the person concerned. I am a party. As a beneficiary of Google's traffic. As a beneficiary of Google's automated advertising sales. And as a potential victim of Google's data knowledge and market power. Still, Less is more, sometimes. And you can win up to death.

    Monopolies did not survive in the long term in the entire economic history. Either they have failed on the complacency which gives birth to its own success. This is not likely in the case of Google's. Or they have been weakened by competition. It seems hardly possible in the case of Google's. Or but they have been restricted through policy initiatives. IBM and Microsoft are the latest examples.

    Another way would be the voluntary self limitation of the winner. Is it really wise to wait until the first serious politician calls for the dismantling of Google's? Or, even worse: to deny citizens the following - while they still can? We no longer can it.

    Her Mathias Döpfner

  5. #5
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    This includes also the fiction of the free culture. On the Internet, in the beautiful colorful Google world, so much seems free: by search services to journalistic publishing offerings. In fact, we pay with our behavior. With the predictability and commercial marketability of our behavior. Who today had a car accident and writes in an E-Mail, can receive tomorrow offer of a manufacturer for a new car on his cell phone. Terribly practical.

    Who today surfing on websites about high blood pressure and about his fitness bracelet jawbone automatically reveals its notorious lack of exercise, can expect tomorrow a higher health insurance premiums. Not practical at all. Just horrible. It could be that it takes not so much longer until more and more people realize that the currency of the own behavior carries a high cost: the freedom of self-determination. And therefore better and cheaper is to pay with some very old-fashioned: just with money.
    Muito bom.

  6. #6
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Google under fire from European media tycoon

    The boss of one of Europe's largest media companies has strongly criticised Google in an open letter published in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

    Mathias Dopfner, CEO of Axel Springer, says his company is afraid of Google and its power.

    He also asks in the letter, addressed to Google boss Eric Schmidt, whether Google intends to create a superstate where anti-trust and privacy laws don't apply.

    Google has not commented on the letter.

    Axel Springer publishes more than 200 newspapers and magazines including German papers Die Welt and Bild. It also has a significant online presence and television and radio interests.

    Mr Dopfner's letter was published in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper - which is not published by his company - in response to a column by Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

    Mr Schmidt's column had referred to the advertising relationship between Axel Springer and the search company. He described how the relationship had been challenging at times but how now they had "walked down the aisle" and signed a multi-year deal.

    Mr Dopfner acknowledged that he was pleased at the marketing relationship between the two companies and an admirer of Google's entrepreneurial success but went on to say that the company had little choice but to engage with Google as "we know no search engine alternative to increase our online reach".

    Global monopoly

    The company makes 62% of its profits from digital business, he said, and the Internet is a great opportunity, but he explained that he was concerned about the role Google plays online.

    He referred to a long-running dispute between Google and the European Commission, which involved accusations that the search company gave favourable treatment to its own products in search results.

    Mr Dopfner said the resulting agreement between the two parties was not a compromise but instead the Commission had "sanctioned the introduction of a business model, which in less honourable circles is called extortion".

    He said the agreement would still allow Google to discriminate against competitors in search results. At the time Google said its proposals to change the way search results were ranked were fair and wide-reaching.

    Mr Dopfner went on to say in the letter that large technology companies like Google are far more powerful than people realise.

    "With the exception of biological viruses, there is nothing with such speed, efficiency and aggressiveness that spreads like these technology platforms, and this also lends its creators, owners and users with new power."

    He compared the company to the state monopolies that ran the German postal and telecoms services: "Today there is a global network monopoly. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that there are transparent and fair criteria in Google's search results."


    Mr Dopfner's comments were not just restricted to Google - the founder of social network Facebook also came under fire. He explained that he'd been at a conference when someone asked Mark Zuckerberg how 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.'

    "Again and again I had to think about this sentence. It's terrible. I know it is certainly not meant that way. This is a mindset that was fostered in totalitarian regimes not in liberal societies. Such a sentence could also be said by the head of the Stasi or other intelligence service or a dictatorship."

    Turning his attention to Google founder Larry Page, Mr Dopfner said: "He dreams of a place with no privacy laws and without democratic accountability."

    Referring to comments Mr Page had made about the company wanting to develop ideas but being unable to because they were illegal, Mr 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?"

    He finished the letter with a warning to Google that in the history of economics monopolies do not survive long.

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