German News Groups, Microsoft Unit File Anti-Trust Complaints Against Google

It was only last week that Germany’s justice minister suggested Google is becoming “a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft”. Her comments have now paved the way for a trio of complaints filed to the country’s Federal Cartel Office, Zeit and Deutsche Welle report…

— The Federation of Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) and Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) have complained about that ‘ol chestnut – Google’s use of news article “snippets” in its search results without payment.

— At the same time, price comparison and consumer reviews site Ciao is using a complaint to attempt to undo parts of a contract under which Ciao displays Google (NSDQ: GOOG) AdSense ads. Eleven-year-old Ciao was in 2005 bought by online market research surveys firm Greenfield, which was in 2008 acquired by Microsoft, which itself is trying to build a web ads operation to rival Google’s.

— The unlikeliest of complaints comes from Euro-Cities, an online mapping company that grumbles allowing third-party sites to embed Google Maps for free effectively kills off its own paid services.

Those last two complaints give the issue, combined, extra gravitas, but are individual or contractual issues. Yet the tag-teamed complaint from publishers is more notable…

This is effectively the same kind of case that Belgian newspapers, through their Copiepresse group, won against Google in 2007, forcing it to remove their articles from Google News (it was still seeking