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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp wants Australia to break up Google

Key Points
  • Rupert Murdoch's News Corp wants Australia to break up Alphabet-owned Google.
  • In a report, News Corp told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it should recommend making Google sell off its search business.
  • News Corp owns several big news publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Times newspaper in the U.K. 
Rupert Murdoch
Drew Angerer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp wants Australia to break up Alphabet-owned Google.

In a report submitted to the country's competition watchdog, the media group's Australian unit wrote the U.S. tech giant wields "overwhelming market power," calling it the "most important gateway to the internet" and a vital platform for digital advertisements.

"Google leverages its market power in both general search services and ad tech services to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and news publishers," News Corp wrote in its submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Among a list of recommendations News Corp proposed to the competition watchdog for tackling the "harm" caused by digital platforms, it said Google should be made to sell off a part of its business.

"To remedy these harms, Google could either sell Google Search, or retain Google Search and divest the rest of its businesses to a third party," the report said. News Corp owns several big news publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Times newspaper in the U.K.

Even if the government in Canberra were to take News Corp's suggestion, it was not immediately clear how Australia could force the American tech giant to break up.

A Google spokesperson said the company has no comment on News Corp's recommendations, directing CNBC to an earlier blog post. 

Late last year, the Australian watchdog issued a preliminary report identifying concerns about the way digital platforms favor their own businesses. While the agency recommended greater scrutiny and regulatory oversight for how tech companies handle personal data and advertising services, it stopped short of suggesting divestment.

In February, Google submitted a response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's findings.

"The Preliminary Report bases many of its recommendations on the mistaken premise that Google has market power in search, search advertising, and news media referrals," the tech giant said, claiming that it faces "fierce competition."

Tech behemoths such as Google and Facebook are now facing increased scrutiny from regulators around the world.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential hopeful, unveiled a plan last week to break up several big tech companies, including Google, Amazon and Facebook. Lawmakers in the U.S. and in the U.K. have gone after the social network following a scandal that revealed personal data was improperly gathered from its users.

Meanwhile, the European Union last year fined Google $5 billion for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.

—CNBC's Elizabeth Schulze contributed to this report.

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