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Obama Anti-Trust Chief on Google the Monopoly Threat 364

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-has-to-be-said dept.
CWmike writes "The blogosphere regularly excoriates Microsoft for being a monopoly, but Google may be in the cross-hairs of the nation's next anti-trust chief for monopolistic behavior, writes Preston Gralla. Last June, Christine A. Varney, President Obama's nominee to be the next antitrust chief, warned that Google already had a monopoly in online advertising. 'For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem,' Varney said at a June 19 panel discussion sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute, according to a Bloomberg report. The US economy will 'continually see a problem — potentially with Google' because it already 'has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising.' Varney has yet to be confirmed as antitrust chief, and she said all this before she was nominated. Still, it spells potentially bad news for Google. It may be time for the company to start adding to its legal staff."
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Obama Anti-Trust Chief on Google the Monopoly Threat

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  • First post! (Score:2, Informative)

    by mahohmei (540475)

    First post!

    Last I checked, Google isn't forcing vendors into signing Google-only contracts to bundle only Google software with new computers.

    • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:38PM (#26922889) Homepage Journal
      I didn't think a monopoly in and of itself was illegal.

      Only if it is abused, no?

      • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:50PM (#26923061) Homepage Journal

        Correct. A monopoly position is not illegal. Using it to punish competitors or as a means of compliance is.

        Google should be watched for abuse of their monopoly power in advertising, but so far I don't think there is any existing evidence to show abuse.

        We have yet another person obtaining a position of power after displaying evidence of prior bias, but that's just how politics work. Fortunately, Google has the resources to vigorously defend themselves against spurious charges of monopoly abuse. Unfortunately, Google has the resources to vigorously defend themselves against non-spurious charges of monopoly abuse.

        • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nschubach (922175) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:52PM (#26923095) Journal

          The question being... how could you use a monopoly on advertising to keep other advertising companies from effectively advertising?

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:02PM (#26923197) Homepage Journal

            That's not the only way to look at it. Google could use their advertising clout to harm companies that rely on internet advertising in order to exert influence in that particular industry.

            I'm not saying how likely it would be to occur, just that it's possible.

            I don't see a huge likelihood of danger from Google based on their advertising monopoly. I do see potential dangers from a monoculture of reliance on Google's other services, much like the problems that have arisen from a Microsoft monoculture. Given that their power is derived from voluntary use of their (mostly) free products, antitrust law could be difficult to apply to their actions in many regards. If Google starts abusing their power, it will likely be a very unique case from a legal standpoint.

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:50PM (#26923617)

            The question being... how could you use a monopoly on advertising to keep other advertising companies from effectively advertising?

            Just as microsoft does more than simply sell operating systems, so does google do more than simply sell internet advertising.

            For example, Google could rig their search engine to never index any web pages that discuss either yahoo's mapping service (formerly mapquest) or microsoft's mapping service with it is really awesome "bird's eye view" feature.

            Thus Google's effective monopoly on internet searches could be used to harm other businesses which rely on internet advertising to pay the bills.

          • Re:But... (Score:4, Informative)

            by YerTalkingKrap (1477057) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:51PM (#26923623)
            Well, strictly speaking, Google does have a clause which states that you cannot use the advertising services of another provider while you are showing Google Ads (you are allowed to host ads yourself, but not from another 3rd party provider). While this may SEEM predatory, I think this is pretty much the norm - back in the day when I used banner exchanges, they had the same rule. So really, if the government is going to go after Google for that, then it would probably have to be an industry change.
          • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

            by CarpetShark (865376) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @08:44PM (#26924069)

            how could you use a monopoly on advertising to keep other advertising companies from effectively advertising?

            A big advert saying that the other advertising company sucks?

            Stranger things have happened [amigahistory.co.uk]

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jfim (1167051)

            The question being... how could you use a monopoly on advertising to keep other advertising companies from effectively advertising?

            If you have a monopoly on advertising, it means that you control a majority of where ads are displayed. Since some kinds of advertising are dependent on impression volume, if Google controls a majority of "eyeballs" for your particular market, you can't avoid using their service unless you want to have a much lower impression volume.

            This kind of imbalance isn't as pronounced in

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by sumdumass (711423)

              It shouldn't be about getting an ad campaign that is effective. The effectiveness is all up to the person running the campaign not the provider or media outlet. The only way I can see what your describing as being problematic is if Google charged disproportionately higher then similar services or refused to provide service or service at similar costs as your competitors.

              The feeling or insinuation that someone needs to use a specific service or product to be effective isn't/shouldn't be in itself enough to s

        • by mangu (126918) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:41PM (#26923555)

          Google should be watched for abuse of their monopoly power in advertising

          If they are looking for a company that hods a monopoly in advertising, they should look somewhere else [clearchannel.com]

        • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

          by overThruster (58843) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:45PM (#26923581)

          No evidence of abuse, eh? I'll bet he did a Google search to look for the evidence...

        • so far I don't think there is any existing evidence to show abuse.

          Where's the fine line between successful strategy and abuse? It seems to be the point at which it becomes popular to hate a company.

          Let's look at the sins of which Microsoft has been accused.

          If I'm not mistaken, one criticism is that it's taking advantage of having huge stockpiles of money, in order to "dump" its products at low cost into markets to gain control. Well, Google's playing that same game, more successfully. They've put out a t

          • by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:14PM (#26924631) Homepage Journal

            I've never liked Microsoft, but I've never liked the antitrust claims against them either. Google's actions are awesome, and Microsoft's are evil, and I'm not sure why. I certainly hope there's more to it than the popularity contest.

            One company leveraged their dominant product directly to push a secondary product that might otherwise have been supplanted in favor of a rival. The other created a product so superior to everything on an already saturated market that they outstipped the competition on sheer technical prowess alone. One company put something free into a product that everyone had to pay for to coexist technologically. The other put their money-making product into a free offering that was among a huge field of other free offerings. Microsoft can subsidize products with their massive revenues, but for them to gain the traction that they do requires that they be incorporated into the one product that many people have to have: their operating system. Google can subsidize their products with their massive advertising revenue, but can't actually tie their products to the purchase of ad space. They still have to rely on technical superiority for adoption. If nobody has a reason to use it (i.e. Chrome), they don't have a customer base that they can foist it off on by unnecessarily tying it to a product many people need. That their advertising revenues benefit from ad placement in their free products attests to the popularity of the product rather than to the tying between it and the advertising. Gmail is a delivery channel for advertising, but had to be compelling in some way to encourage users to voluntarily sign up for the advertising channel over Yahoo! Mail or MS Live (among others in the field).

            On first blush, Google and Microsoft can be compared readily. They are dominant in their fields. When you get past that, however, the ways they achieved (and used) their dominance are nearly polar opposites.

            I'm not a huge fan of either of them. One is useful but otherwise unremarkable aside from sheer popularity, one is barely tolerated out of necessity. For many people it probably is a knee-jerk popularity contest, but that's to be expected since the vast majority of people have no reason to consider the issue any deeper than what they garner from passing comments and opinions of others.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by v1 (525388)

        Does Microsoft have a monopoly? yes.
        Does Microsoft abuse their monopoly staus? frequently

        Does Google have a monopoly? yes.
        Does Google abuse their monopoly staus? not yet

        There's the difference, and there's why they need to be handled differently. MS not only has abused their monopoly status, they actually have a well-established track-record of doing so whenever they think they can get away with it, and not being the least bit apologetic or repentive when they DO get caught.

        That's why someone has to keep

    • by OAB_X (818333)

      Its not being a monopoly that is illegal, it is abusing the monopoly position to remain in a monopoly through business practises that restrict the competitiveness of other businesses.

      Yahoo and MS both have online advertising divisions, they just can't compete against adwords on googles own website, which while large, must not be the entire source of googles revenue on online adverts.

  • Google's ability to combine search data from maps, Google Earth, Web Search, Google News Alerts, etc, and mine it is a much bigger problem.
    • Google's ability to combine search data from maps, Google Earth, Web Search, Google News Alerts, etc, and mine it is a much bigger problem.

      Why? Because they've built a better mousetrap, and now people want to use it?

      Google isn't even close to being a monopoly. I'm not a slobbering fanboy of Google the way some other people are, but I also fail to see a business boogeyman behind every corner as some people do. Some people's concept of "anti-trust" would be more correctly called "anti-success"... this notion that a company that's been very successful must have cheated or done something nefarious to get that way.

      • by DrLang21 (900992) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:52PM (#26923089)
        Agreed. Sure Google is dominating the online advertising market, but maybe it's largely because their ads are not overtly obtrusive and are often relevant. I consciously refuse to click on ads I find annoying, but I've actually used Google ads to find obscure products that I am looking to buy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vux984 (928602)

        Why? Because they've built a better mousetrap, and now people want to use it?

        No, people are getting trapped IN it.

        Google isn't even close to being a monopoly.

        In the US & Canada for search (perhaps Europe too?), yes it is close. Close enough that online businesses, site profitability, etc, etc, live and die in large part based on their google page ranks.

        I'm not a slobbering fanboy of Google the way some other people are, but I also fail to see a business boogeyman behind every corner as some people do.

        Go

      • Why? Because they've built a better mousetrap, and now people want to use it?

        No, because they've built a better mousetrap, and some bad people will be using it in the future against us, unless we think about ways, now, of defusing it.

        What the fanbois miss is that even if we assume that the current Google management is ethical, there's no guarantee that future management will be, and there's also no guarantee that future governments won't impose their will against the management's wishes. Would y

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:13PM (#26923335) Homepage

      Dude, companies like Experian and Acxiom have been mining your every credit card and club card purchase, among many other things (they can even tell you if a given person's current vehicle lease is about to expire), for *years*. If you're really worried about Google, I hate to break it to you, but you're a little late to the game.

      • companies like Experian and Acxiom have been mining your every credit card and club card purchase, among many other things (they can even tell you if a given person's current vehicle lease is about to expire), for *years*. True, but they don't know which news stories I am monitoring thru Google News Alerts, or what terms I am searching on, or which address I am asking directions for, nor can they combine that information. Google's ability to aggregate data is truly staggering.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Here's an idea then.. Don't use fucking google! How hard is that? Or better, use Tor. God you people whine like little baby girls.
  • by Anomalyst (742352) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:39PM (#26922897)
    Hey, Verne, know what I mean.
    /fisheye-lens
  • by Azh Nazg (826118) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:40PM (#26922919) Homepage
    Christine seems to think that Google is a monopoly in the world of online advertising -- that much, I find no fault with. However, thinking that they need antitrust actions seems just foolish to me. Sure, they may be a monopoly, but they have yet to actually abuse this monopoly. Since the purpose of antitrust laws is to avert the abuse of monopolies, surely it would be a far better use of the court's time to go after those who continue to abuse their monopolies, such as Microsoft and cable and phone companies?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bennomatic (691188)
      Wouldn't it be funny, though, if Google pre-empted this whole conversation by spinning off their advertising business into its own separate company, and then allowing other companies (i.e. MS and Yahoo) to bid on providing ads for the ad space on Google's site.

      They could bill the Adsense for resources using the model that they have in the AppEngine service, and using historical Adsense revenue information, set a standard for how much they should be receiving from other ad systems.

      Other ad vendors sho
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Chosen Reject (842143)
        Wouldn't it be even funnier if they weren't [cnet.com] a monopoly? [idc.com]
        • I absolutely agree. I sort of meant for that to be an implication in my use of "pre-empt". To wit, while they are a dominant player, they are not a monopoly, meaning that they are not the only option for search or advertising, or any of the other services they offer.

          They are indeed the dominant player, but that is not a monopoly by any stretch of the imagination. If they were the "only" solution for anything they do, we could have a different conversation, but they're not.

          So my use of "pre-empt" wa
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:11PM (#26923311) Homepage

      However, thinking that they need antitrust actions seems just foolish to me. Sure, they may be a monopoly, but they have yet to actually abuse this monopoly.

      Um yeah, but I don't see where she actually said that anti-trust is required now.

      BTW, here's a link to the original bloomberg article [bloomberg.com] that this blog entry quotes from.

      She says she thinks Google acquired their monopoly legally, but is concerned about what happens when cloud computing takes off. Okay, she uses an unqualified future tense when she says "there will be companies that will begin to allege that Google is discriminating", but that still sounds more like a prediction to me than a promise of action. If that happens, anti-trust investigation may in fact be warranted, and I see no indication that she's saying she would pursue anti-trust against Google anyway if it doesn't.

      Seriously, what's the issue with having an anti-trust chief who is aware of and intends to keep an eye on potential future problems? If regulators had been keeping a closer eye on Microsoft, then maybe U.S. vs Microsoft would have happened early enough to actually make a difference.

      • "there will be companies that will begin to allege that Google is discriminating"

        The vast majority is of Google's cloud computing is given away free(so people will use their products). To the best my knowledge, they have a fairly open sdk and tos. I'm having trouble envisioning a scenario like the text you quoted(the quote seems so imply it's inevitable so it's more fair to interpret it as a promise of action). Can you provide a hypothetical?

        Seriously, what's the issue with having an anti-trust chief who is aware of and intends to keep an eye on potential future problems? If regulators had been keeping a closer eye on Microsoft, then maybe U.S. vs Microsoft would have happened early enough to actually make a difference.

        I'd rather have one that finishes the job.

        • Seriously, what's the issue with having an anti-trust chief who is aware of and intends to keep an eye on potential future problems? If regulators had been keeping a closer eye on Microsoft, then maybe U.S. vs Microsoft would have happened early enough to actually make a difference.

          I'd rather have one that finishes the job.

          Agreed. Instead of one that achieves a guilty verdict, then lets the guilty party write their own settlement. It is unfortunate that the Bush admin came in and completely changed the DO

        • The vast majority is of Google's cloud computing is given away free(so people will use their products). To the best my knowledge, they have a fairly open sdk and tos. I'm having trouble envisioning a scenario like the text you quoted(the quote seems so imply it's inevitable so it's more fair to interpret it as a promise of action).

          Uh, the quote implies that it is inevitable that some companies will allege that Google is discriminating. Which is pretty much true: if Google has a monopoly, or even if there i

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          (the quote seems so imply it's inevitable so it's more fair to interpret it as a promise of action)

          No, it implies she thinks it will happen, and that she didn't feel a need to throw a dozen qualifiers in to satisfy /. pedants. It certainly does not imply that she will pursue anti-trust action against Google regardless of whether there are any allegations of discrimination or not. That makes no sense regardless of how you read her sentence.

          Can you provide a hypothetical?

          It's The Future(tm). Cloud computin

  • That's scary (Score:4, Informative)

    by javelinco (652113) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:41PM (#26922935) Journal
    Does she not know what a monopoly [wikipedia.org] is? Or is she ignorant about online advertising?

    The existence of a very high market share does not always mean consumers are paying excessive prices since the threat of new entrants to the market can restrain a high-market-share firm's price increases. Competition law does not make merely having a monopoly illegal, but rather abusing the power a monopoly may confer, for instance through exclusionary practices.

    First it is necessary to determine whether a firm is dominant, or whether it behaves "to an appreciable extent independently of its competitors, customers and ultimately of its consumer."[7] As with collusive conduct, market shares are determined with reference to the particular market in which the firm and product in question is sold.

    There almost no barrier to entry to advertising on the internet - the costs are negligible. And I've yet to hear how Google is using its leverage to stifle competition and/or gouge its customers. Maybe it IS, but I've yet to hear anything about it...

    • by javelinco (652113)
      More on Antitrust requirements (go Wikipedia [wikipedia.org])

      A distinction between single-firm and multi-firm conduct is fundamental to the structure of U.S. antitrust law, which, as noted antitrust scholar Phillip Areeda has pointed out, "contains a 'basic distinction between concerted and independent action.'"[2] Multi-firm conduct tends to be seen as more likely than single-firm conduct to have an unambiguously negative effect and "is judged more sternly."[3] European competition law also includes a fundamental distinct

    • Re:That's scary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:47PM (#26923023) Journal

      And yet, this is the woman who says Microsoft is "so last century". It's difficult to think of a market harder to enter than the desktop OS market, or the office productivity suite market.

    • Re:That's scary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:29PM (#26923469) Homepage

      Does she not know what a monopoly is? And I've yet to hear how Google is using its leverage to stifle competition and/or gouge its customers.

      Yes she knows what a damn monopoly is. She knows that a monopoly is not in and of itself illegal. She said she thinks Google has a monopoly in online advertising, and that they acquired it legally. She said nothing that indicates she thinks Google is abusing that monopoly today.

      What she is concerned about is cloud computing -- i.e. net apps like Google Docs -- and that Google could make interoperating with their software difficult just like Microsoft has/is. That is in fact a legitimate concern. If it happens, I'd like for a regulator to step in sooner than the government did with Microsoft, and if it doesn't, I don't see anything that says she'll pursue anti-trust against Google just because.

      I'm really not getting what everyone is getting their panties in a twist over.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sleigher (961421)

        I'm really not getting what everyone is getting their panties in a twist over.

        Let me guess, you read the article didn't you? If so, I think you know the answer to your question.

  • Monopoly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xenographic (557057) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:42PM (#26922945) Homepage Journal

    I thought that having a monopoly was legal, but that protecting it via illegal means was not. What, exactly, has Google done to illegally protect the alleged monopoly?

    Also, it's hard to see how they create a barrier to entry in the market. Any idiot can set up an online advertising agency and start making deals (and many idiots have done precisely that).

  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arootbeer (808234)

    Forgive me, but I completely fail to see how Google could be considered a monopoly. They offer services that are supported by their advertising revenue.

    They collect information about you, yes - we all know this may be evil.

    But anti-competitive? AFAIK, their only source of revenue is their advertising business. Are they under-selling ad pricing? My gut feeling is that their services exposure is such that people would probably pay some premium to advertise with Google versus other sites.

    Unless my un

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Forgive me, but I completely fail to see how Google could be considered a monopoly. They offer services that are supported by their advertising revenue.

      Actually, their biggest service is advertising (i.e. Google-based ads on websites which are not Google) and since their purchase of Doubleclick (remember them, the guys whose entire business was advertising-as-service?) they have 70% of the market and could probably be called a monopoly.

      But anti-competitive?

      She did not say they are anti-competitive... yet.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:43PM (#26922963) Journal

    For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem.

    I don't know about you, but my father uses Windows. My mother uses Windows, except for an old machine I've set up for her music library on Linux. My brother uses Windows. His friends all use Windows. Most of my friends use Windows, except the few who have Macs -- and those run Windows in a VM.

    Even I use Windows -- VM or dual boot.

    I've finally reached a point in my life where I don't have to touch Windows more than once a week, unless I want to play a game. And yet, I still can't design web apps the way I want -- I still have to either force everyone to download Firefox, or spend around 10% extra development time supporting Internet Explorer. (And I can't develop IE-only, or I don't have Firebug.)

    If you don't see Microsoft as a problem, you aren't looking. If you see them as "so last century", it's because you let them get away with it last century!

    I'm not going to defend Google, but that statement is dangerous thinking. Just because everyone forgot about the problem doesn't mean it's gone.

    • If you don't see Microsoft as a problem, you aren't looking.

      I agree-- but the problem isn't just who has what market share. I mean, I don't know about all the legalities of anti-trust laws, but it seems to me that even if Google had 100% control of internet ads and Microsoft had 70% control of the desktop market, Microsoft may still be a bigger problem.

      Because the issue isn't who has more market share, but rather why they have that market share and what they're doing with that market share. Google isn't particularly trying to create vendor lock-in, at least not a

      • Google is a problem, but not nearly as much.

        You do get one account for all Google services.

        Apps do work better with GMail. Their calendar and mail, in particular, are somewhat more tightly integrated than you might want -- and invitations to a calendar event pretty much only work with a Google account, even if the recipient doesn't use Google Calendar.

        I'm sure I could find other things if I tried. Some of these would be hard to do in a more open fashion. All of them do, in subtle ways, suggest that you use

        • Yeah, I'm not prepared to claim that Google isn't a problem at all. They certainly are dominating online search and advertisement, and they do have their fingers in a lot of pies.

          On the other hand (and this is the crux of my earlier post) I think that it's still the case that they're in the position they're in because they're the best at what they do. Of all the people I know who use Gmail and Google Apps, I've never heard one express annoyance at being "stuck" using those because they want to use Google

      • What about having a couple of media companies owning almost all the newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations in the entire country?

        Except there aren't just a couple of media companies that own own almost all newspapers or radio and TV stations in the US. There are literally dozens of media companies [cjr.org].

        Falcon

  • by sloth jr (88200) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:44PM (#26922983)

    ... abusing your monopoly is. I read the article hoping to see some indication of how Google is keeping other competitors down or acting against the public good; didn't find it. My conclusion: not yet an issue.

    • Abusing your monopoly ? What does that mean ? Setting prices higher than people are willing to pay ? In that case then people will go without your product / service.

      Monopolies are a problem when the monopoly controls a resource that people need. People end up paying higher than they would have to if there were competition. Monopoly is a problem in the sense that people have to make do with a good or service that could be of better quality if competition were present. Monopoly also keeps prices higher than

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:45PM (#26922991) Journal
    ...it's when companies start abusing their monopoly that watchdogs should (potentially) step in.

    Microsoft has had a few clear cases where it abused its monopoly. Google? I am not so sure, though of course any monopoly bears keeping a close eye on.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:46PM (#26923003)

    Assuming they're a monopoly for online search advertising, in what way are they either abusive, or even able to abuse their monopoly status? With Microsoft, the monopoly is/was harmful to the marketplace of ideas because they wrestled to own and exploit shared standards, used bundling agreements and legal manipulation to hinder competition, and so on.

    Even assuming Google could be considered a relative monopoly, if they were to use most of the problematic parts of that monopoly status, another company could just swoop in to replace them. Their power lies in their perceived results and goodwill with their large user base, rather than just being the only choice for most people.

    I'm not normally a libertarian philosopher, but it seems to me this is one of the truest cases where the marketplace really can sort things out almost completely.

    Ryan Fenton

  • Google for some reason reminds me of an Octopus, due to all the stuff they're getting involved in. It's enough to concern me, but so far not enough to convince me that any kind of intervention is required. I do, however, wish we'd stop thinking they do no evil [sethf.com] simply because it's their motto.

  • It's been pretty obvious to the more slug-like of us (intelligence wise) that Google is the new Microsoft. Microsoft was the new IBM. IBM was the new Standard Oil.

    Nothing changes is business or human nature.

    By the way, I came up with a new Pithy Saying(TM) today. Feel free to call it Turgid's Law:

    Sorry, I forgot what it was.

  • fanboy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PetriBORG (518266) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:49PM (#26923045) Homepage

    Its hard to not sound like a fan boy of google, but I'm currently not understanding why google would be considered as a monopoly, but if I was to play devil's advocate here I might argue the following:

    • Buying DoubleClick giving google some 70% of the market.
    • Attempting to buy into Yahoo to block MS (anti-competitive?).
    • Preference of search orders for choice sites (wiki).
    • Mozilla support / Firefox integration.
    • Limited external api to services.

    I don't agree with these, but some could argue (if you really didn't like google anyway).

  • Ehhh, who cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordSnooty (853791) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:53PM (#26923103)
    I associate a monopoly with crappy service/no communication with customers, overpriced products and a lack of innovation or change. So I'm finding Google's version of a monopoly quite refreshing.
  • Intel and Cisco (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @06:58PM (#26923173) Homepage

    Having a monopoly (in legal terms) is not, as many have pointed out, illegal, but it does constrain your behavior somewhat, and it does mean that the Justice Dept is probably going to want to keep an eye on you. I don't see anything in TFA suggesting that Google is going to be prosecuted--merely that they're going to be scrutinized, and frankly I think that's a good thing. I'm more worried about the suggestion that Microsoft is no longer a problem.

    Intel and Cisco have both also been judged to have monopolies in their respective fields, but unlike Microsoft, they've (mostly) played by the rules, and haven't ended up in serious trouble. Doesn't mean the Justice Dept won't continue to keep an eye on them, though. I have no problem with Google being lumped in with Intel and Cisco. On the other hand, I don't want them lumped in with Microsoft until someone finds evidence of similar anti-competitive behavior. On the gripping hand, if evidence of anti-competitive behavior is found, I want them prosecuted, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that day.

  • Google dominates some spaces, that is certain. But what makes them different from say MS, or many other companies is that they don't leverage one product to "help" another. For instance Google Chat/Video- open standards. No Google services require Chrome, or are dumbed down like MS often does with competing browsers. Heck even most of Google's apps are multi-platform. Now I'm not all pro-Google, I think they are big enough they should be watched, carefully, but so far I think they are doing a good job of no
  • by sirwired (27582) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:02PM (#26923201)

    Microsoft was anti-trust defense for losers. If the original judge was not such a completely bone-headed moron, MS would have lost, and lost badly. Gates made a complete fool of himself on tape, Boises (sp?) walked all over their lawyers, and the judge seemed to enjoy them twisting in the wind. The only thing that saved them was a change in administrations.

    IBM, when accused of anti-trust, they built an in-house team larger than most law firms, and then dragged out the case so long, the judge in charge of the proceedings literally died before the case could be concluded.

    SirWired

  • Cloud Computing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mshannon78660 (1030880) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:07PM (#26923259)
    It was a little tough to glean from TFA (let alone TFS), but what she actually seems to be saying is that Google is positioning itself to acquire the same type of monopoly on cloud computing that MS has in the OS space. Seems like a valid concern, and as long as all she's arguing for is increased scrutiny as enterprises move more and more to cloud computing, I can't really see an issue with it. It also explains the comment about MS being "so last century" - as companies move to cloud computing (assuming they really do), the OS should become less important.
  • Do the lawyers have to do the puzzles too before they are hired?

  • The first thing to consider is is Google a monopoly?
    Both the Computerworld [computerworld.com] article and Bloomberg's [bloomberg.com] mention Google's online advertizing but neither says that both Microsoft and Yahoo! also has online advertizing. According to CNN [cnn.com] Google's market share in online advertising is 75%, MS's is 5%, and Yahoo's is 20%.

    Next they both talk about Google being in cloud computing, however they don't say Google faces competition there too, from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and other businesses.

    The third to cons

  • So last century... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:21PM (#26923409)
    Okay, I can't take someone seriously who uses teen-speak. What is she? 16?

    Behold your government.
  • Did anyone else read that as "Microsoft has enough lobbyists and has given us enough money, so we can let them slide. Google, it's your turn to line our pockets so we'll leave you alone after a mock trial and a slap on the wrist" ?

  • So instead of going after the phone companies like ATT or the broadband companies like Mediacom which routinely screw customers and ARE monopolies, its going after google who has been pretty good to everyone. Ok, makes sense. /dripping sarcasm
    • Hello the phone company monopoly was broken up back in 1981. What is really needed is to get the fricken rules on sharing internet infrastructure fixed, and to get multiple cable franchises per locality.

      As far as Google, this guy is obviously clueless.

       

  • by SEE (7681)

    Microsoft still has a massive network-effect supported 90%-or-so share of desktop OSes and something huge on office suites. Even the relative disaster of Vista hasn't dented them more than marginally. Further, Microsoft has a repeated historical pattern of abusing this power.

    Google has a 70% share of online advertising, a business where it's the next thing to trivial to switch suppliers on, whether you buy them or sell them.

    But, hey, because all the buzz is around Google, not Microsoft, let's ignore the c

  • For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem

    Sounds like Microsoft's got him in their pocket already. Ignore M$ but concentrate on their #1 target ... suspicious.

    I fail to see how google is a monopoly? Most people use google to search so most people want to advertise with google. Yet you go buy an off the shelf PC, turn it on and the default browser (IE) on the default OS (Microsoft Windows) already has a default homepage for you (MSN).

  • What an idiot.

    Google had ~63% of the search market. Hard to corner advertising - even search advertising, which is their best niche - with 63%. By contrast, in Jan '09, Windows controls some ~89% of the Desktop OS market.

    But this just in - having high market share isn't illegal. What's bad is leveraging your monopoly in one market to injure competition in other markets.

    For example, bundling your Web Browser product with your OS, and even integrating it as a half-assed file browser, so that everyone would ha

  • Gee, what a nice little website you got here. Be a real shame if anything happened to it, ya know...

    Looks like Google fell behind on it's "Civic Association" dues. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been paid up for quite some time.

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