https://www.faz.net/-gqz-7oid8

An open letter to Eric Schmidt : Why we fear Google

  • -Aktualisiert am

Google’s employees are always extremely friendly to us and to other publishing houses, but we are not communicating with each other on equal terms. How could we? Google doesn’t need us. But we need Google. And we are also worlds apart economically. At fourteen billion dollars, Google’s annual profit is about twenty times that of Axel Springer. The one generates more profit per quarter than the revenues of the other in a whole year. Our business relationship is that of the Goliath of Google to the David of Axel Springer. When Google changed an algorithm, one of our subsidiaries lost 70 percent of its traffic within a few days. The fact that this subsidiary is a competitor of Google’s is certainly a coincidence.

Not only economic, but also political

We are afraid of Google. I must state this very clearly and frankly, because few of my colleagues dare do so publicly. And as the biggest among the small, perhaps it is also up to us to be the first to speak out in this debate. You wrote it yourself in your book: “We believe that modern technology platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, are even more powerful than most people realize (...), and what gives them power is their ability to grow – specifically, their speed to scale. Almost nothing, short of a biological virus, can scale as quickly, efficiently or aggressively as these technology platforms and this makes the people who build, control, and use them powerful too.”

The discussion about Google’s power is therefore not a conspiracy theory propagated by old-school diehards. You yourself speak of the new power of the creators, owners, and users. In the long term I’m not so sure about the users. Power is soon followed by powerlessness. And this is precisely the reason why we now need to have this discussion in the interests of the long-term integrity of the digital economy’s ecosystem. This applies to competition, not only economic, but also political. It concerns our values, our understanding of the nature of humanity, our worldwide social order and, from our own perspective, the future of Europe.

The greatest opportunity in the last few decades

As the situation stands, your company will play a leading role in the various areas of our professional and private lives – in the house, in the car, in healthcare, in robotronics. This is a huge opportunity and a no less serious threat. I am afraid that it is simply not enough to state, as you do, that you want to make the world a “better place.” The Internet critic Evgeny Morozov has clearly described the position that modern societies need to take here: This is not a debate about technology and the fascinating opportunities it presents. This is a political debate. Android devices and Google algorithms are not a government program. Or at least they shouldn’t be. It is we the people who have to decide whether or not we want what you are asking of us – and what price we are willing to pay for it.

Weitere Themen

„Dschinn“ Video-Seite öffnen

Trailer : „Dschinn“

„Dschinn“ läuft ab Donnerstag, den 13. Juni auf Netflix.

Die neue Mündlichkeit

FAZ Plus Artikel: Youtube : Die neue Mündlichkeit

Rezos Video rechnet mit Lesern, die lesen können, aber meistens nicht gelesen haben, was er für sie gelesen hat. Wie Youtube das Verhältnis von gesprochenem Wort, Schrift und Wissen verändert.

Topmeldungen

Iran-Konflikt : Amerika schickt weitere Soldaten in den Nahen Osten

Die Spannungen zwischen Iran und Amerika nehmen zu. Zwar betont man in Washington, man suche nicht die Konfrontation mit Teheran – dennoch verstärkt Amerika seine Truppen im Nahen Osten. Eine Ankündigung des Irans verschärft die Lage weiter.
Ehemaliger Lebensmittelladen in Loitz: Der Solidaritätszuschlag dient in erster Linie zur Finanzierung der Kosten, die die deutsche Wiedervereinigung verursacht hat. (Archiv)

Wortbruch der Union : Soli-Schmerzen

Dass ein Teil des Soli bleibt, dürfte für die Betroffenen finanziell zu verschmerzen sein. Nicht aber der Wortbruch der Union – und das bittere Gefühl, dass ihr Sondereinsatz für das Land nicht einmal wertgeschätzt wird.

Newsletter

Immer auf dem Laufenden Sie haben Post! Abonnieren Sie unsere FAZ.NET-Newsletter und wir liefern die wichtigsten Nachrichten direkt in Ihre Mailbox. Es ist ein Fehler aufgetreten. Bitte versuchen Sie es erneut.
Vielen Dank für Ihr Interesse an den F.A.Z.-Newslettern. Sie erhalten in wenigen Minuten eine E-Mail, um Ihre Newsletterbestellung zu bestätigen.