Germany wants to implement tough new controls on technology giants that regulate the likes of Google and other firms in the same way utility companies are currently controlled.
A Sunday Times report claims that the nation’s Federal Cartel Office has prepared a 30-page document that gives it extra powers to limit the power of technology companies if they decide to start trying to flex their muscles too much.
The document goes on to state that the new rules will include anti-competitive pricing guidelines to govern advertising in a similar way to companies that offer Germans electricity and water.
Taking the example of Google, the government will be able to have a stronger influence on how services provided through the search engine, such as advertising, are priced without delving into how Google needs to change its search algorithm.
Europe has been casting a watchful eye over Google’s search engine activities over the past few years as part of a case brought by various smaller sites over its bias towards its own products among search results. That case still hasn’t completely played out but Google isn’t likely to be fined the reported $5 billion that was suggested back in February.
That can of worms could even be reopened by new EU president Jean-Claude Juncker as many of the competitors, such as Yelp, have criticised the settlement between the EU and Google as being too lax.
Depending on how the case in Germany plays out it could have a knock on effect across the rest of the continent and Google having to negotiate on a country-by-country basis.