German Justice Minister Likens Google To “Giant Monopoly”

    January 11, 2010

Germany’s justice minister is less than happy about the direction Google’s headed.  Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger thinks the search giant may become a monopoly, and she’s not of a mind to sit by while that happens behind closed doors.

Germany has often posed something of a problem for Google.  It never won the right to the name "Gmail" in the country, faced criticism over Chrome, and was forced to change its Street View data deletion practices.  YouTube’s been the subject of complaints, too.

Sabine Leutheusser-SchnarrenbergerNow it looks like another battle might be brewing.  According to Reuters, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told German magazine Der Spiegel in reference to Google, "All in all, what’s taking shape there to a large extent is a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft.  My initial response is not to ban something or stop something.  But I do want to create more transparency and ensure that users know what is going on with their data."

She then continued, "I think the companies have an obligation here, and a lot of things ought to be improved.  If that doesn’t happen soon we may have to take action as legislators."

Given how battles in Germany tend to go for Google, the company’s no doubt hoping it doesn’t come to that.

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