Tougher Times for Google in Germany

(dpa) The German government’s competition regulator announced on Wednesday that is setting a stricter course for monitoring Google and its parent company Alphabet.

The Federal Cartel Office (BKA) has determined that Google is “of paramount significance for competition across markets,” a statement said. The validity of the decision is limited to five years, during which time Google will face “special abuse control” from the regulator.

This is the first decision taken under a new provision of the German Competition Act, which allows for earlier intervention in the practices of large digital companies, agency head Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

“The [BKA] can now take action against specific anti-competitive practices by Google. We have already started to look into Google’s processing of personal data and to deal with the Google News Showcase issue in more detail,” Mundt said.

“At the same time, we are vigorously conducting other proceedings against Amazon, Apple and Meta, formerly Facebook.”

Google waived its right to appeal the competition authority’s decision and said via a spokesperson that is it confident it will comply with regulations.

“The people who use our products and services expect us to run our business responsibly and to be regulated,” Google Germany spokesperson Lena Heuermann said.

However, to the extent that changes are necessary, the company will work constructively with the BKA to find solutions that allow people and businesses in Germany to continue to use Google products in a way that is helpful to them, she added.