Google rejects more ACCC oversight

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Google rejects more ACCC oversight

Google has rejected calls by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission competition regulator for tougher scrutiny of its operations, denying that it enjoys market power in online searches and advertising, documents published on Monday showed.

The global giant was responding to recommendations made late last year by the watchdog, such as increased scrutiny and a new regulatory body to monitor the dominance of tech giants in online advertising and news markets.

"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," Google wrote in a Feb. 18 statement published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

"Google faces fierce competition from other providers, including vertical search sites like Amazon, Expedia, Domain and Carsales.com, many of which users access directly through mobile apps."

The regulator had said the enormous market power of firms such as Google, which has a 94 percent share of web searches in Australia, and their opaque methods for ranking advertisements, gave them the ability and incentive to favour their businesses over advertisers.

In preliminary recommendations that are subject to change, the ACCC also said the new regulator should have powers to investigate how the companies rank advertisements and news articles.

Google rejected such a measure as "unnecessary".

It said the regulator had provided no evidence that regulatory review of Google's algorithms and potential recommendations for more disclosure about its news ranking would lead to higher quality search results.

"We support transparency for our customers and partners in a fragmented space, but we disagree with the appropriateness of price monitoring as a solution," Google said in the statement.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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