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Google Blows Raspberry at Rupert Murdoch's E.U. Complaints

Getting lectured by Rupert Murdoch was too hard for Google to resist responding in kind.

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Google has remained relatively quiet about many antitrust complaints that have been raised with the European Union about the search giant. Getting lectured by Rupert Murdoch about ethical business practices was apparently too tempting to ignore.

The company responded to Murdoch’s complaints Thursday night in a “Dear Rupert” letter that simultaneously defended itself and mocked the legendary press baron, who has had a few problems of his own in recent years with a phone-hacking scandal.

“We wanted to share our perspective so you can judge the arguments on their merits,” Google Senior Vice President of Global Communications Rachel Whetstone wrote in a blog post, which ticked off it’s response to several of Murdoch’s complaints.

“The shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google,” Murdoch’s News Corp. wrote in a Sept. 8 letter to current European competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia.

“Larry Page and Sergey Brin are still very much at the helm of Google — Larry is CEO and both remain the inspiration behind our next generation of big bets … self-driving cars, Loon, Fiber and more,” Google shot back.

News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post in the U.S. and the Times and the Sun in the U.K., is just the latest company to publicly raise concerns about Google’s business practices, as E.U. antitrust officials continue their negotiations with Google about a possible settlement.

The E.U. has been investigating complaints that Google uses its massive market share in Europe to push its own products and disadvantage rivals. Google’s three settlement proposals have been rejected. Now, the company has been forced to take a step back and reconsider what it can offer as the E.U. waits for a new head antitrust commissioner to take over the investigation.

The exchange marks the latest salvo in a long, cranky dispute between the two industry giants, often waged via Murdoch’s Twitter feed, as Kara Swisher pointed out last month.

Sun photo

Much of Google’s defense leaned toward the dry side, as it defended its famous algorithm and its efforts to promote other services, such as local reviews.

But Google couldn’t resist responding to this gem in News Corp.’s filing: “Undermining the basic business model of professional content creators will lead to a less informed, more vexatious level of dialogue in our society … the intemperate trends we are already seeing in much of Europe will proliferate.”

Google: “People probably have enough evidence to judge that one for themselves :)”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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