German cartel office steps up examination of Google products


FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany's cartel office said it was examining Google's use of personal data and its Google News Showcase product under its new powers to regulate internet companies, and was also considering cases involving Amazon, Apple and Facebook owner Meta.

The regulator said on Wednesday it had determined that Google's owner Alphabet met the scale threshold required for a company to be subject to new extended supervisory powers to regulate large internet companies that it acquired last year.

"The Federal Cartel Office can now tackle concrete forms of behaviour that harm competition," office president Andreas Mundt said. "We have already started looking more intensively at Google's processing of personal data and the topic of Google News Showcase."

He added that the office was also considering further cases involving Amazon, Apple and Facebook owner Meta .

A Google spokesperson expressed confidence that the company was in compliance.

"To the extent that changes are necessary, we will continue to work constructively with the Federal Cartel Office to find solutions that make it possible for people and businesses in Germany to continue using our products in ways that are helpful to them," said the spokesperson.

The office began looking at Google's use of personal data in May last year and at the selection of news offered under Google News Showcase in June.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Editing by Miranda Murray and Tomasz Janowski)

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