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article imageVivaldi CEO attacks Google for 'evil' monopoly over online ads

By James Walker     Sep 4, 2017 in Technology
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner has penned an attack on Google's alleged "misuse of power" online. In a sharply written blog post, he explained how Google appeared to cancel Vivaldi's ad campaigns after he spoke out about its data collection policies.
Vivaldi said its AdWords campaigns were "suspended without warning" days after von Tetzchner was interviewed in a WIRED article. In the article, he expressed his concerns about the data gathering and ad targeting campaigns widely used by Vivaldi's digital rivals. In particular, von Tetzchner discussed Google and Facebook, the two biggest ad providers widely seen to dominate the market.
Vivaldi tried to reach out to Google to resolve the situation. In its blog post today, the company presented Google's response as harsh and deliberately intended to compromise its business. Vivaldi ultimately had to "bend to their requirements" before its campaigns were reinstated, shifting its website content about and changing how it stated key pieces of information.
Von Tetzchner's now taking the situation public. He called for tighter regulation around extremely large digital service providers, describing Google as a "bully" that intentionally impedes the progress of rivals. Attacking the company for no longer being the "geeky, positive company" it started out as, von Tetzchner said antitrust investigations into Google are warranted.
"A monopoly both in search and advertising, Google, unfortunately, shows that they are not able to resist the misuse of power," wrote von Tetzchner. "I am saddened by the makeover of a geeky, positive company into the bully they are in 2017. I feel blocking competitors on thin reasoning lends credence to claims of their anti-competitive practices. It is also fair to say that Google is now in a position where regulation is needed. I sincerely hope that they'll get back to the straight and narrow."
Vivaldi is based on Google's open-source Chromium browser engine so it supports largely the same features as Google Chrome. Despite the shared core, Vivaldi has to "hide" its identity when logging into Google services. According to the company, Google intentionally makes its own websites, such as Docs and Drive, less compatible with other browsers. The limitations still apply to Chromium-based software that's essentially running Google code underneath.
Von Tetzchner hasn't specified whether Vivaldi's seeking further action against Google in the light of the AdWords suspension. The company's account has now been restored, three months after it was first limited. Vivaldi said it still hasn't received a full explanation from Google and accused the search giant of acting hypocritically. Some of the practices it forced upon Vivaldi it allegedly ignores itself, furthering von Tetzchner's claims that Vivaldi was deliberately targeted.
More about Google, Vivaldi, Web browsers, online ads, Advertising
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