Consumer Watchdog Asks EU to Block Google, Motorola Deal

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    A consumer group on Wednesday penned a letter to European regulators asking them to block the pending merger of Google and Motorola Mobility on anticompetitive grounds.

    “The Internet is too important to allow an unregulated monopolist to dominate it,” John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, wrote to the EU’s competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

    Simpson argued that a combined Google and Motorola would “provide Google with unprecedented dominance in virtually all aspects of the mobile world—manufacturing, operating systems, search and advertising. It would be a virtually unstoppable juggernaut. We urge you to block the deal.”

    A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter.

    Last week, the European Commission set a deadline of Feb. 13 for when it would issue its ruling on the $12.5 billion Google takeover of Motorola Mobility. That came about a month after the EU suspended its investigation of the Google deal in order to gather more details.

    In the U.S., the Justice Department also asked for more information about the Motorola deal back in September.

    In mid-August, Google surprised tech enthusiasts by announcing plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Motorola has been a purely Android shop for some time, but the deal was primarily viewed as a way for Google to gets its hand on some much-needed patents; Motorola has at least 17,000.

    This is not the first time Consumer Watchdog has criticized Google, meanwhile. In September 2010, the group purchased space on a Times Square jumbotron to display a video that attacked Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt and his company’s privacy policies. Last year, the group also demanded information about why Google solicited Social Security Numbers for its Doodle 4 Google contest.

    For more, see Google Acquires Motorola Mobility: What You Need to Know, as well as PCMag’s year in review of Google.

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