Add one more voice to calls for regulation of Google: Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of Expedia Group.
Diller, interviewed by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin during an event at the Economic Club of New York, was asked how he felt about the large technology companies. Diller, who holds the titles of chairman and senior executive for both Expedia and IAC, immediately responded that Facebook and Google “own, basically, advertising business worldwide.”
“Inevitably, all monopolies behave the same, and you’ve got to have regulation of what they do, once they get to that stage,” Diller said. “I would stop them from going into businesses to compete with their own advertisers.”
“We spend $3.5 billion a year on Google advertising,” Diller explained, referring to Expedia. While, he said, at one point some of the Google traffic came for free, “they now say, ‘No, you have to pay for everything, and we’re going to compete with you directly in that travel business to offer travel services that essentially will disintermediate you.’”
Diller, alluding to the recent European Commission actions against Google, said while regulation may not lead to a fully level playing field, regulation of some sort would eliminate “real bad practices.” But Diller did not elaborate on what that regulation should look like.
Google has gradually been expanding into the travel market since 2011, when it first launched Google Flights, later adding booking capabilities. Google Maps and Search have added hotel details and prices, bypassing more traditional online travel agencies.
For its part, Bellevue, Wash.-based Expedia Group has a large number of travel businesses, from its flagship Expedia site to Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, and HomeAway.
A survey earlier this year by market research firm HarrisX found that 53 percent of Americans thought that large technology companies should be regulated by the federal government in the way big banks are, but a plurality of 38 percent didn’t think the government was capable of doing so. Google was not the top choice for the highest level of regulation: just 34 percent thought Google should be “heavily regulated,” but that result was 49 percent for Facebook.
You can hear Sorkin grill Diller on tech giants and more in the Economic Club of New York interview video, with the regulation discussion starting at 21:20.