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'Break Up Google and Facebook If You Ever Want Innovation Again' (theregister.co.uk) 268

Hal_Porter shares a report from The Register: If the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up, journalist and film producer Jonathan Taplin told an audience at University College London's Faculty of Law this week. He was speaking at an event titled Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital monopolies have cornered culture and what it means for all of us, where he credited the clampers put on Bell then IBM for helping to create the PC industry and the internet. Taplin told his audience that he'd been moved by the fate of his friend Levon Helm, The Band's drummer, who was forced to go back on the road in his sixties, after radiation therapy for cancer. Helm died broke. Today, Taplin points out, YouTube accounts for 57 per cent of all songs streamed over the internet, but thanks to a loophole returns just 13.5 per cent of revenue. "That's not a willing buyer-seller relationship," he said, referring to the UGC loophole that Google enjoys, one not available to Spotify or Apple Music. But it isn't just songwriters and musicians who are poorly paid. The average person "works for two hours a day for Mark Zuckerberg" generating a data profile. Taplin pointed out that Bell held patents on many technologies including the transistor, the laser and the solar cell, that it agreed to license, royalty free, as part of a 1956 consent decree.

Taplin saw history repeated with IBM. Under the 1956 (again) consent decree IBM was obliged to unbundle software from hardware in the 1960s. But competition authorities again opened up an investigation in 1969 which ran for 13 years. Caution made IBM ensure its first microcomputer, the IBM PC, launched in 1981, was an open platform. IBM chose three operating systems to run on the first PC but clearly favoured an outsider, from a tiny Seattle outfit originally called "Micro-Soft." Then Microsoft got the treatment. "Every 20 years we have this fight -- and we're about to have it again," Taplin told the audience. Antitrust was necessary "not because they're too big, but because there's no market solution" to Google and Facebook. The barriers to entry are now so high nobody is going bust open the ad duopoly. Taplin cited Snapchat an example of a company that tried to innovate, but refused to take Facebook's buyout offer. Facebook has simply copied its features.

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'Break Up Google and Facebook If You Ever Want Innovation Again'

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  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:15PM (#55641231) Journal
    Just 15 years ago we were wringing our hands about Win-Tel stranglehold and how it was impossible for innovation to happen. How Microsoft making a vague announcement about some vaporware made venture capital disappear for fledgling companies. How it bundled and coerced PC makers to shut Netscape out and drove it to bankruptcy. How WordPerfect's painstakingly assembled drivers for every damned obscure printer in the world was taken away in one fell swoop by making every printer conform to Microsoft driver spec.

    Then ...

    Today we laugh at Microsoft. From the days of calling Linux cancer, it is adding Linux subsystem for Windows and porting MSOffice for free for Chromebooks below 10 inch screens.

    So let us be more cautious.

    • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:24PM (#55641267) Homepage

      Microsoft's dominance in the PC market was never really dislodged. Its also still quite a profitable business. Its just not something "cool" that people are talking about anymore.

      What happened, was that new markets opened up where "Windows compatibility" was no longer relevant. As such, Apple and Google went in and took up the positions of "the Microsoft" and "the Apple" respectively. (with the only difference being that, this time, Apple grabbed just enough high-margin marketshare to get taken more seriously.)

      And the server market? Microsoft never *really* dominated there. Linux just took over from the proprietary UNIXes of old.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:25PM (#55641727)

        Microsoft's dominance in the PC market was never really dislodged.

        Microsoft has gone from 97% to 89% of the desktop market. That is still dominance, but the "non-Microsoft" portion has more than tripled since its nadir. But more importantly, "the desktop" doesn't matter as much anymore. Most people use their phone or a tablet as their main computing device.

        It is easier than ever to avoid Microsoft products. The only use I have for Windows is filing my S-corp taxes one per year, and I use a VM on my Macbook for that.

        • I'm curious where those numbers come from, and if they include netbooks. I'd argue that netbooks, especially Chromebooks, are more comparable to tablets than PCs or laptops. Form factor is part of it, but more important is how they get *used*, and who is doing the buying... Those are the things that, for me, determine which "market" a product is in. If I were "in the market" for an audio production workstation, I wouldn't consider a Chromebook. If I were in the market for a Christmas present that lets my ne
          • Yeah, my experience is M$ is fully entrenched. So much so that no one even questions it any longer.

            And I only put in the drop of 1% to account for Macs on the back of iPhone customers.

        • > . The only use I have for Windows is filing my S-corp taxes one per year, and I use a VM on my Macbook for that.

          I've used Taxact.com for my S Corp for many years. I use Linux, and just recently started using Mac some. I'm sure other sites work just fine too. You don't *need* Windows for taxes.

          Since my business was network security and I had root access to many customers' servers, nearly 20 years ago we decided Windows wouldn't be allowed on our network, and I've yet to have any need for it whatsoever.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Microsoft's dominance in the PC market was never really dislodged. Its also still quite a profitable business. Its just not something "cool" that people are talking about anymore.

        What happened, was that new markets opened up where "Windows compatibility" was no longer relevant. As such, Apple and Google went in and took up the positions of "the Microsoft" and "the Apple" respectively. (with the only difference being that, this time, Apple grabbed just enough high-margin marketshare to get taken more seriously.)

        And the server market? Microsoft never *really* dominated there. Linux just took over from the proprietary UNIXes of old.

        M$'s dominance comes from the business applications market. Office+Exchange (or O365 now) was what was used to lock people in. They got fined for it a few times but most people just put up with it now because you can use O365 on anything (to be fair, in the last 10 years Exchange has gotten a lot better). If not for this and it's tight integration with Active Directory, Microsoft would have two fifths of fuck all of the server market.

        As for breaking up companies... Out of the big players, only one is act

    • My thoughts exactly.

      We were so worried about Microsoft back in the '90s, even The Simpsons had to parody it in an episode [wikipedia.org]. The highlights can be watched here [youtube.com] and here [youtube.com], on YouTube, no less.

      Microsoft is still around, of course. But when they stopped innovating, innovation didn't stop. Others just took over.

      • by nnull ( 1148259 )

        No, but they have the power to stop others from innovating. That's where I see the problem. As a business owner and manufacturer, the problem I have with my big competitors is having them play their card with legalities. Many laws written seems to protect the bigger guy while the smaller guys have no recourse against it. Intellectual Property claims on literally everything is getting out of hand. Every process, every procedure, every word spoken is now "Intellectual Property" at many companies. I've already

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:25PM (#55641277)

      I came to post exactly the same thought - there's a reason for the old saying "The bigger they are, the harder they fall". I worry that if you break up either Google or Facebook the parts might be stronger than the whole and more destructive.

      I also think we may see early signs of Google's fading a bit already, what with Amazon totally stealing the show on home assistants. Google's assistant is more powerful but I'll bet people use it less than Alexa, and it's less branded - a friend of mine has a Motorola Android phone and says "OK Moto" to activate the assistant, I don't even know if he knows it's Google powering it (or is it? Not sure myself).

      • On the flip side of that, every major phone brand, particularly Samsung, Google and Apple, all have photo/email/sms/cloud apps, but moving from one to the other is a pain in the a**, so most people pick a brand and just stick with it. In this case competition looks good on paper but in reality it's vendor lock-in.
        • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:47PM (#55641767) Homepage

          On the flip side of that, every major phone brand, particularly Samsung, Google and Apple, all have photo/email/sms/cloud apps, but moving from one to the other is a pain in the a**, so most people pick a brand and just stick with it. In this case competition looks good on paper but in reality it's vendor lock-in.

          Which is why the government should demand interoperability just like they did with instant messaging, email, etc.... If your friend list and your posts carried from service to service then people could use competing services without lock-in. At the very least they should allow some sort of aggregation service that sits on top of facebook and other social media services. Google doesn't really have the lockin, there is plenty of competition, it's easy enough to switch to bing, duckduckgo, etc... if people found them more useful. Amazon is probably the hardest to break up. It's lockin is economy of scale and convenience. It's really hard for someone to go head to head with amazon but I once thought that about ebay so anything's possible.

          • Interoperability (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2017 @05:50AM (#55642583) Homepage

            Which is why the government should demand interoperability just like they did with instant messaging, email, etc....

            Government did what ? Which government ? In which country ?

            And let's look at interoperability :

            Now that Google is blocking server-to-server XMPP fedaration (and not even using XMPP internally, only as an interface for client), is there a single interoperable instant messaging ?
            - Google's Talk/Hangou/whatever it is going to call next week, once it gets merged into the next beta experiment
            - Facebook's Messenger.
            - WhatsApp (also in facebook's possession, but not even interoperable with the other facebook instant messaging system).
            - Snapchat (strongly popular among a very young generation)
            - Microsoft's Skype
            etc.
            Every single instant messaging system is an isolated silo, with no way to send message accross.
            SMS are the only interoperable thing, and that's not as much due to government decree as it is due to it being a telecom standard that existed and was interoperable from the beginning with, and lots of companies (mostly in Europe and Asia) saw "inoperable" as a potential selling point ("You can now send SMS to your gand-ma, even if she's in a different country and thus very likely on a different network") rather than a drawback (as in the US. "Want to exchange messages ? Then you need to move all your friends on the same network as you").

            Even the only systems that ARE currently operable - e.g.: Microsoft's Skype for Business and Cisco - are only so because they are business software designed to work on interoperable industry standards (SIP and XMPP, respectively) that predate them and onto which the company only have bolted they branding.

            And regarding e-mails:

            Yes, same situation : it's basically interoperable, not because of some recent government law, but because from the beginning they were industry standards a long time ago back in the age of "internet across universities", long before service providers even existed, long before companies such as Google suddenly became mastodons on the market.

            Imagine if suddenly a small upcoming service provider arrived saying "yes, we do offer some mailing system, but it's a different one and not compatible with what everybody is currently using", or if Google began this way with their mail system (although currently some of their "spam filtering" borders on becoming so).
            They wouldn't have attracted any interest, just like a phone company giving you a phone line that only works with their system
            (although in several countries, there ARE actual law design to fight potential such abuse by a big telco refuse to interconnect with smaller ones).

                If your friend list and your posts carried from service to service then people could use competing services without lock-in. At the very least they should allow some sort of aggregation service that sits on top of facebook and other social media services. Google doesn't really have the lockin, there is plenty of competition, it's easy enough to switch to bing, duckduckgo, etc... if people found them more useful. Amazon is probably the hardest to break up. It's lockin is economy of scale and convenience. It's really hard for someone to go head to head with amazon but I once thought that about ebay so anything's possible.

          • OR... couldn't we just outlaw proprietary code? If all was forced to be open source, then all the apps could be programmed to be compatible with each other.
    • Today we laugh at Microsoft.

      "We" apparently being the small percentage of consumers and businesses who don't continue to belly up to the bar and buy whatever MSFT's next rendition of reality happens to be.

    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:53PM (#55641407) Homepage Journal

      15 years ago the vast majority of desktops ran Microsoft's operating systems. Microsoft Office was dominant and virtually everyone felt obliged to exchange editable documents in its formats.

      Today that hasn't actually changed. Microsoft was unable to move its monopoly to the new portable computing markets, but desktops remain the dominant computing platform, and Microsoft continues to dominate it.

      What is arguable is that the interventions multiple governments took part in may have at least made sure Microsoft was unable to control the portable computing market: the EU in particular took action to ensure Microsoft didn't have a browser monopoly, and the actions of the Clinton administration were enough to ensure that Microsoft stopped doing serious development of IE after IE4 for a few years. When Microsoft resumed development, releasing 5.0, 5.5, and then 6, the EU got involved and again Microsoft felt obliged to pause development.

      Without Microsoft's control over the web, both Apple and Google were able to produce devices that Windows would never have been suitable for, that were useful and fit into the existing ecosystem.

      So, yeah... Microsoft still owns the desktop. But it doesn't really own anything else. It doesn't own markets that literally would not exist if Microsoft had been able to control the web as it hoped to. A mixed result, but overall, a positive one.

    • Just 15 years ago we were wringing our hands about Win-Tel stranglehold and how it was impossible for innovation to happen.... Today we laugh at Microsoft.

      I don't, and you shouldn't. They still have a lot of control over the business/enterprise market with Windows, Office, and Office 365. Intel still has a lot of control over computer processors and chipsets. There's been incremental improvements, but not a lot of disruptive innovation in either the server/desktop OS or chips. When there has been some kind of "innovation", it's largely because Apple or AMD starts making some headway, and Microsoft or Intel have to start trying again.

      The whole "Wintel" th

  • Um, Fuck Yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:24PM (#55641265)
    Took AT&T years to get the government's attention, but once it got broken up things took off. I remember in, shit, 80/81 I bought a GE flipphone I could plug into my phone outlet. I paid something like $80 for it, and didn't have to pay AT&T $10/month for a regular phone. Kept that damned phone for a good 10-20 years, until I could replace it with a wireless phone.

    Alphabet/Facebook are months beyond needing to be taken down a peg, too bad government works in years/decades while FB/A work in months.
    • Re:Um, Fuck Yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2017 @06:45AM (#55642713) Homepage

      I still have my grandma's rotary dial phone that she paid hundreds of dollars to rent over the course of her life. It was so nice when we could suddenly buy cheap phones, answering machines, etc.

      Around 2001, the cable companies tried to sneak a "super DMCA" bill through state legislatures, and one of the provisions that they had made it illegal (literally, a crime with punishments by the state) to connect anything to your cable connection without their permission. And by "connecting" they meant "in any way connected". If you connected a router with 3 computers that would have been 4 separate crimes.

      I don't think most younger folks know where they got that idea from.

  • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @09:32PM (#55641317)

    But Facebook? Innovation? Really?

    • There is innovation for Facebook customers. Big data analysis is complex and costly. They even design their own servers.

      What you see as a Facebook user is just a tiny part of the business. Still, new features are added all the time. The talk these days is about suicide prevention. Face recognition seems like a cool thing to do from an average user point of view. Fake news is supposedly fixed or reduced now. Shadow profiles and user tracking may rival some three letter agencies.

      Alphabet innovation these

      • The talk these days is about suicide prevention.

        So basically trying to figure out how to dial back the behavior you prompted in the first place [nih.gov]. I guess that could be considered "innovative" -- but if so, then so would just nuking social media and letting humans get back to being human.

        Face recognition seems like a cool thing to do from an average user point of view. Fake news is supposedly fixed or reduced now. Shadow profiles and user tracking may rival some three letter agencies.

        Sorry, when I read "do X or you won't see innovation again" I parsed "innovation" as something I might really want and/or need.

        Alphabet innovation these days include many changes in YouTube: not paying out to copyright holders, messing with the kids, and infuriating content creators and advertisers at the same time.

        I think you may have forgotten a few minor things like providing Internet access to poor/devastated regions, building hyper-efficient wind power

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      I like Google, but I think they've lost the ability to execute. I find their products are increasingly half-baked (e.g. podcasts in Google Music) and getting flakier over time (e.g. Chromecast).

      Consider how many years old their successful products are at this point.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by swillden ( 191260 )

        I like Google, but I think they've lost the ability to execute. I find their products are increasingly half-baked

        Actually, I think it's the opposite. Google's products are more polished at launch than they ever used to be. From the outset, Google's modus operandi has always been to launch early and incomplete, and then iterate incrementally. Remember when every new launch was explicitly tagged as "beta"? Expectations have changed, though, and now people expect Google stuff to work perfectly from the beginning. I think Google's execution has actually gotten much better (though there are some glaring counterexamples), b

        • by Luthair ( 847766 )

          Chromecast is getting flakier? I haven't noticed that.

          For me if the chromecast is turned off the tray notification will be stuck on the phone for hours, Youtubes website has been effectively unusable many things will cause the stream to crash (e.g. visit a channel with a welcome video) or restart videos, Google Play Podcasts has issues with tracking podcast play positions resuming a paused cast will play briefly before jumping to the next podcast (presumably it empties the buffer), etc. etc.

      • Case in point, only now are they adding drag and drop capability to docs. No kind of macro language whatsoever.
      • by rhazz ( 2853871 )

        Consider how many years old their successful products are at this point.

        Google's been historically very good at taking an existing product/idea and implementing it very well. Google wasn't first to search, online advertising, maps, many things. But they took those ideas and implemented executed them far better than their competitors. I think Google's not producing any less quality products than they used to, I think their competitors are just getting better at building their own products. For example Alexa's a good product (from what I read), and Google Home will need to be si

    • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:37PM (#55641745) Journal
      That was my first thought- what are they going to break FB up into, a bucket and a pile of shit?
    • Serious question - other than search, what area is Google strangling? Everything I see them involved in is either license and let companies build whatever the hell they want on it like Android, or kind of half assed and on life support or just plain dead like Fiber, self driving cars, social media (plus, wave, Meebo, other things), chat, Google Code, Google Health, Google Pay, Smart Glass, etc, etc, etc.

      They're basically the company that hits one massive out of the park and into the next county home run th

      • Oh, advertising. That was their second out of the parker. But what else, really? Chromebook? Eh... it's successful-ish but not anything dominant. And Chrome is starting to lose its luster to Edge and a much improved Firefox again. Web browser market share is a fickle mistress...

        • You are misunderstanding how Google works. They are only in one market: advertising. Everything else that they are doing is for the sole purpose of providing new places to put adverts. But if you really want another example, how about the Play store (which exists to ensure that Play services and therefore Google ads are on every Android phone and integrated into most Android apps)? It has an overwhelming market share of Android app stores and a large majority of the overall smartphone app store market.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        YouTube is a pretty big deal when it comes to speech and culture. And they have proven to be extremely irresponsible in managing it.

        Also consider Android. I have multiple news feeds (their news app and Google Now) where they control which articles I see. In fact I rarely install non-Google apps on my phone because I just don't have the time to dig around for the "best" app in a category.

    • But Facebook? Innovation? Really?

      I suppose you think Facebook is just something where someone posts some status updates right?

      As opposed to say:
      A social network
      A unified messaging platform
      A business directory
      An online market place
      A reviewing system
      A widely used single sign-on system
      A games platform
      The first company to provide a 360degree video platform (bet you thought that was Google Right?)
      One of the leaders in pushing VR (admittedly they bought this one).

      That's to say nothing of their developments in the advertising world.

    • They innovate surprisingly more than you'd think given the idiotic nature of their website. They spend a lot of time in networking & datacenter innovations, not to mention some pretty complicated algorithms for sifting through all your shit to make it useful to marketing.

      It's just the "soshul" front-end that is brain dead and utterly without merit that you see, that is pretty non-innovative and increasingly difficult to use.

  • "Facebook has simply copied its features."

    Yeah... maybe the bar for what we call innovation has gotten a bit ridiculously low. Real innovation takes more than a weekend and a case of Mountain Dew for a competitor to copy.

    • What's the feature set that will take longer for Facebook to reproduce than for you to get even 100 million users (where "even" is used to indicate in comparison to facebook's size, not to indicate that it's a small number)? Heck, it's hard to imagine the feature set that will take Facebook longer to reproduce than it took for their competitor to get as many total users as Facebook uses as an internal test group.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Number of users isn't innovation. Making a photo disappear on a timer is (or was at some point) innovation, but just barely. Yes, Snapchat is (lots of people still use Snapchat) valuable because of the number of eyeballs staring at it. But the article held it up as an example of innovation. It's not.

        Clearly if I could just give you an example of an innovation today I wouldn't, I'd go and found a company and sell it to you instead. But I think a good innovation, and one we really need, will be something

        • The point wasn't that the number of users was the innovation, but that large companies such as Microsoft, Facebook or Google can undercut your innovation because they money to burn and they already have large user bases. So even if you have an new and innovative idea, those companies have the money and the developers to reverse-engineer what ever you are doing and deploy it before your product reaches a critical market share point where it can't be easily swamped by a rich and established competitor.

          It's f

    • Just because something is innovative, doesn't make it hard to copy.

      The personal computer was an innovation. All IBM did was build a computer with off-the-shelf chips and some software it bought from other companies.
      You could but a computer for your home before the IBM PC. Namely the Apple 1 and Apple II.
      Putting it all together in what was effectively an open standard, bundled with software was the key.
      The market got flooded with "IBM compatible" clones. They weren't hard to copy but no one else thought of d

    • If you can come even remotely close to their face tracking in a weekend with a case of mountain dew, then there are probably a dozen companies doing computer vision who would hire your incredibly l33t sk1llz for a very hefty salary. Now is a great time to be in computer vision, and it's an employee's market.

      Plus one of the biggest features Facebook can never copy, and that's the "your mum isn't on it" feature.Though I will admit that if you make a new app then no one which includes no one's mum will be on i

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @10:56PM (#55641631)

    Facebook is a service that exists solely because computer experts (us) have been to lazy about finally replacing Usenet and E-Mail with something that isn't an anachronistic piece of shite protocol & service. Do that and Facebook will go away. Mark Zuckerberg said it himself: He wouldn't want Facebook to be cool, he would want it to be ubiquitous. Like electricity or tap water. Just about the exact opposite of innovation, once it's established.

    Anyone can see that Facebook as something like that isn't all that good. It's just notably better than E-Mail (no news here) for the largest part of humanity, I can't blame them. Facebook has actually *less* ads than email. And the once it does have are at least mildly useful to the users. Ponder that for a moment.

    Snapchat crashed and burned because there is a cheaper more universal alternative that is orders of magnitude better. It's this thing called "websites" (remember that Snapchat wanted to make money replacing those), driven by an open standards group that these days to the most extent play ball with each other and actually *do* innovate (CSS Grid and Web Assembly - finally). Snapchat is never going to replace that without redoing the entire way the web works.

    Google is a search engine, and a very good one. They actually innovate and have computing power that is unmatched by anyone else. They also have a measurable headstart in AI. And they've built the Facebook of operating systems, Chrome OS / Android. OS as a service. And cleverly implemented. Get all for free, we just get to watch over you. ... That is creepy, but it *is* innovative.

    I presume Google will get into trouble once we have open source AI projects such as Open AI gain traction on easily available hardware that can run it at the users discretion. Implement the algorithms and spread it on FOSS clients and you can reduce Googles influence significantly. Firefox just vaulted back on to the stage and could be a facilitator of something like this a few years further down the road. Have enough context/AI driven popups wearing on your nerves and eventually someone will get back to dusting off some FOSS mobile OS. Long story short: Google will have to innovate in one way or the other on a regular basis to uphold it's value proposition. And they do. Searh engine algorythms updated regularly, Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, Cloud Computing, AI as a service, cheap feasible VR, ... pretty innovative if you ask me. I'm still hooked anyway. ... Though I did stear clear from Chrome OS after a short tryout.

    My 2 cents.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re Like electricity or tap water.
      People who express different politics should not get banned from a water, gas, electricity connection because some company worker saw a political slogan in a front yard they did not like.
      Re What makes a search engine? A very good one?
      Finding results without party politics pushing news sites and content out of results expected to be seen?
      A return to a new look, fully encrypted IRC, Usenet and E-Mail GUI might be the only way to get the internet back from the control of
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      Usenet in its prime was more or less an elitist forum - for academics at universities and large corporations. The less fortunate computer nerds used to dial up BBS systems, which had organised its own FidoNet for inter-BBS communication.

      Usenet was not succeeded by Facebook. Facebook was made for the less tech-savvy.
      When Usenet became too spammy, interest groups instead went back to the BBS model, but on the web: specialised forums that they themselves had control over, often running PHPBB ... or even SlashC

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        What would something better than Facebook even look like?

        How would it be funded? Usenet is pay-to-access, Facebook is paid for by selling your personal data and ads. The former dooms you to obscurity, the latter is evil.

        How would you handle spam and the inevitable barrage of copyright claims? How would you handle people posting revenge porn or child pornography?

        And how would you tempt people away from Facebook?

        By the time you have solved all these problems you end up looking a lot like Facebook anyway.

    • Facebook is a service that exists solely because computer experts (us) have been to lazy about finally replacing Usenet

      Congratulations, you have just named about 1 of the 15 different services that Facebook provide.

      Maybe you should research something before talking.

    • I don't see Facebook as a replacement for Usenet, but rather a replacement for Myspace, which was a replacement for Geocities, which was simply a way for a person to make a personal web page and have an internet presence without assistance (i.e. having someone else build it for you, owning a domain, etc...).

      It has since poured a ton of "features" into it, the most prominent being ads in an (successful, if not in magnitude of the IPO worth) attempt to monetize it. However if you recall those terrible Geociti

      • Facebook's continuing development and refinement has been oddly-successful. Myspace fell apart into a crap-heap. The death of Facebook was predicted a half a dozen times for reasons ranging from Diaspora to your parents being on Facebook. I remember when they removed "Random Play" from the profile options (and the ability to search for men/women in your city looking for a relationship of a kind) and people predicted the death of Facebook because they only saw it as a platform for hooking up with college

  • by Revek ( 133289 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:40PM (#55641751) Homepage

    Break up the patent and copyright monopolies. Google and facebook are not relevant to innovation they just take advantage of the inequitable distribution of IP rights.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Google doesn't innovate? Really?

      People seem to forget how crap search was before Google. Android is where most of the innovation in the mobile arena happens these days. Waymo's self driving cars are years ahead of anything else it seems. Google Fibre is the only reason some parts of the US don't have really shitty internet. Gmail finally took us beyond 2MB free mailboxes and pretty much solved spam within a year or two.

      There are a lot of things to dislike about Google, but lack of innovation is not one of t

      • I see you're trying to reason with people in this comment section. I wish I could upvote your comment "+1 Forlorn hope".
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Considering the response I get from Slashdot these days, I must be the world's greatest optimist.

    • Break up the patent and copyright monopolies.

      This is one of the times I wish moderations went up to a thousand. EVERYTHING wrong with Apple, Microsoft, Google can be easily solved by restoring the patent and copyright systems back to something reasonable (or abolishing them completely).

  • Their customers are the people buying adds and in Google's case people with advertising space. They are the only players. I can't buy adds anywhere else because it is just to hard to find any other sellers. Likewise no group of sellers are going to actually hire a sales person, will just use Google. There are no patients or intellectual property here. The market has converged to a standard and that standard way of buying and selling ads is now Google. Facebook got in before the door slammed shut. You
  • We guarantee a massive monopoly: government.
  • by ET3D ( 1169851 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2017 @03:03AM (#55642271)

    What he says is: musicians aren't compensated enough, Facebook makes money off our information, and therefore we need to break up Google and Facebook for innovation.

    Breaking up Google or Facebook might contribute to innovation, and breaking up some companies in the past helped in some ways, but that doesn't make musicians and innovation tied in any way.

    • It is true that Facebook is a giant but nothing has been created (post MySpace) that can remotely compete it. I am sure it's not for the lack of trying but for getting the project to gain traction. Facebook has the mindshare of almost 100% of social media users out there. The challenge is getting enough people curious about an alternative. I know that there is DIASPORA* which is a nice idea but it is clunky and not easy to setup. The idea behind DIASPORA* is that you still own, host, and control your conten

    • Exactly, the guys argument is more than a bit off.

      Heck the music industry cannot really to be said to have been innovative. If anything they have fought tooth and nail every step of the way in the last 20 years to try to keep their old monopolistic, traditional, business model going rather than evolving with technology. In fact they've probably used the law and agreements more than anyone to attempt to insulate themselves from change. Getting apparently burned in the Google one doesn't broker a lot of tears

  • What this reporter is really saying is that two entities are eating all the ad money, and nobody else can make any ad money if current trends continue.

  • .. which is why I was delighted when Apple decided to use PowerPC for its products, and was equally hacked off when they dropped it again. But then ARM happened, so it's not all bad. Intel still has meaningful competition; does Google? Facebook? Amazon?
    • I think we can argue that Amazon has Walmart as a competitor, but Walmart is really only able to compete on goods, not so much services. Walmart is not doing anything in content. As for Google, well Duck Duck Go gives me search results that are just as a accurate and useful so I use Duck Duck Go. Also, I have the benefit of not being spied on by using Duck Duck Go. Facebook basically eliminated its competition, MySpace. And newsflash, Intel is still the enemy - think Intel Management Engine.
  • Breaking up doesn't help as long as there's no alternative. The problem is not Facebook or Google, the problem is that the lack of an open standardized decentral alternative. There's DIASPORA* and perhaps that can become a real solution, but for now it lacks traction and openness. But especially, it lacks the generality and neutrality of real established Internet protocols. Eventually an open solution will pop up, it always will, but it's going to take a lot time and patience.

  • "End software patents if you ever want innovation again"

    FTFY

  • Both Google and Facebook are FAR too useful to the US Government for keeping track of all things people.

    There is no way they're going to give up those platforms.

  • In the USA AT&T had a near monopoly in telecoms in the USA, and were using it to extend to other industries, but were not broken up until 1984 ...

    IBM had a near monopoly, the PC was a little, temporary, side project that was done quickly with off the shelf parts (including OS), IBM never thought it would last and so didn't really put any effort into it ... it was open simply because it was cheaper that way ... it succeeded because it was open not because it was IBM ...

    These are not comparable to Face

  • They're just a data harvesting company that offers stupid games to people to get them to keep volunteering up data that they then go and sell to the highest bidder. What would you break them up into? The free games can't exist without the revenue from the data harvesting, and people won't keep volunteering up their data for free if they are only looking at text.

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