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FCC's In Search of Relevance in 706 Report

The FCC's latest arbitrary and capricious torturing of the facts, law, and common sense, in its most recent 706 report, makes it obvious that the FCC is "in search of relevance" and highly insecure about its authority and role in the broadband competition era.

 

  • Apparently, the FCC now sees competition-driven consumer benefits as a threat to the FCC's relevance, role and authority.
    • If the bipartisan policy/law of promoting competition succeeds, then the FCC by definition has less and less to do.
  • It is becoming increasingly apparent that many at the FCC don't want competition policy to succeed, because they vainly believe that the FCC can, and should, mandate social outcomes "better" than market forces and consumer choice can produce via competition.

Thus the pro-regulation forces at the FCC are increasingly and proactively seeking to discredit competition policy wherever possible by ignoring and torturing any facts, evidence, logic and common sense that do not forward their government-centric-view that "expert" FCC regulators invariably know best.

    Consider the common thread between:

    Announcing My New Book: Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

    I've long thought there was a big untold story about Google, essentially a book all about Google, but told from a user's perspective, rather than the well-worn path of Google books told largely from Google's own paternal perspective.

     

     

     

    Given that Google is the most ubiquitous, powerful and disruptive company in the world, it seemed logical to me that users, and people affected by Google, had a lot of important and fundamental questions about Google that no book had ever tried to answer in a straightforward and well-defended manner.

    Google WiSpy II & Privacy Scandal #11 vs. Apple's Respect for Privacy

    The current media and Congressional interest in the new revelation that Google and Apple have collected WiFi location information has largely missed an exceptionally salient point -- Google and Apple have very different privacy track records stemming from their very different attitudes toward privacy.

    Google Privacy Scandal #11:

    AT&T - T-Mobile in Competitive Perspective

    As the DOJ and FCC research and sort through the competitive facts of the AT&T-T-Mobile acquisition for themselves in the months ahead, it will become clear that opponents' current rhetoric and assertions are over-the-top, exaggerated and simply not credible.

    • FreePress and others' claims that this transaction will enable AT&T to "monopolize everything" and reconstitute the "Ma Bell Monopoly," are political demonization arguments devoid of evidence; they are designed to discredit U.S. competition policy, demonize free markets, and justify new FCC interventionist regulation like net neutrality, special access etc.

    I.   The Relevant Facts:

    Implications of DOJ-Google/ITA Antitrust Settlement

    There are many major going-forward implications resulting from the DOJ's latest antitrust enforcement action against Google -- this time to mitigate the anti-competitive effects of the proposed Google-ITA transaction.

     

     

     

    Summary of Implications:

    1. Google is clearly the DOJ's main antitrust concern.
    2. DOJ is 4-0 against Google while FTC is 0-2.
    3. DOJ concludes Google is a monopoly -- again.
    4. Remarkably, Google is actively choosing a regulated future for itself.
    5. Google is choosing the trajectory of a regulated antitrust remedy long term over the trajectory of a break-up remedy.
    6. The narrow market definition is good news for those privately suing Google for antitrust violations.
    7. The Google-ITA "firewall" will prove very difficult for the DOJ to police effectively.
    8. The complaint mechanism is important.

     

    Google's Deceptive "one click away" Antitrust Defense -- Part VIII Google Antitrust Pinocchio Series

    As reports swirl that the FTC and DOJ may be considering a formal antitrust investigation of Google, like the EU already launched in November 2010, Google continues its deceptive, one-dimensional, superficial, antitrust defense mantra that "competition is one click away," and that Google is only focused on users and innovation.

     

    • It is telling that just last week the FTC charged Google with deceptive privacy practices, and Google tacitly admitted its public deceptiveness and misrepresentation in submitting to the FCC's consent order; so I am not alone here in charging that Google is deceptive and misrepresents itself to the public.

     

    So how is Google's antitrust defense deceptive?

    First, Google's stale four-year antitrust mantra that competition is but a click away and Google puts users first, is deceptive because Google knows full well that competition and antitrust involves much more than just users -- as they claim -- but an entire competitive ecosystem.

     

    Key Questions for Google's New CEO Larry Page

    When the world's most powerful company gets a new CEO for the first time in a decade, everyone naturally has a lot of questions.

     

    • When new Google CEO Larry Page decides to become accessible to people outside the insular Googleplex, here are some key questions to ask Mr. Page about: priorities, management philosophy, privacy, antitrust, intellectual property, and social responsibility.

     

     

    Priorities:

    Is Google Android a Counterfeit Operating System?

    Three completely different entities, coming from three very different perspectives/motivations, are all making the same charge against Google: that Google forged their work and stole/misused their property in creating its world-leading Android mobile operating system.

    Google's 'Algorithmic Hand' Proves an Unstable Market Mechanism

    Google's biggest-ever reordering of its search results this past week to reward what Google believes is high quality content and punish low quality content prompted an public epiphany this week that Google has the market power to effectively pick winners and losers in the online content market.

     

     

    There are two big takeaways from this public epiphany that "Google is the de facto web content market:"

     

    • First, Google's "algorithmic hand" largely has supplanted Adam Smith's "invisible hand" market mechanism to pick web content winners and losers; and
    • Second, Google has proven to be a highly unstable, unpredictable and capricious economic platform/mechanism for online content entrepreneurs and businesses to try and build a successful and sustainable business on top of.

     

    FCC Out-Europes Europe on Net Neutrality -- Why?

    "The Net Neutrality Debate in Europe is Over" per an excellent commentary by Ben Rooney in WSJ TechEurope.

    • Mr. Rooney chronicles the evolving public position of EU Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes from an original pro net neutrality regulation mindset, to now the opposite -- a more pro-competition mindset where "the commissoner's position now [is] that a competitive market should be able to deliver an Internet to which everyone has access."

    For those who follow history, it is truly ironic, surprising, and just plain bizarre that Europe is more pro-competition on Internet policy than the U.S. FCC.

    How can this be? To understand this wierdness, look at this remarkable development through the lens of industrial policy.

    I posit the reason for this European policy outcome is the fact that Europe does not have a Silicon Valley lobby -- with an aggressive corporate welfare agenda seeking government special treatment, regulation of their competitors, and implicit bandwidth subsidies -- like the U.S. does. 

    The stark and ironic contrast between the FCC's European-style, interventionist, regulatory approach, and Europe's more American, non-interventionist, competitive approach can only be explained by the presence of the potent lobbying force of U.S. industrial policy national champions (Silicon Valley -- Google, eBay, Amazon, IAC) in the U.S. -- and the absence of European national champions seeking net neutrality in Europe.

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