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Google's Earnings Spotlight Its Antitrust Liabilities

Google's 3Q11 earnings call and release provided lots of new and relevant evidence to the many antitrust investigations of Google going on around the world.

  • See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here that explains the four big antitrust takeaways from the Google earnings call.

Google 21st Century Robber Baron

See my Forbes post "Google 21st Century Robber Baron" which briefly tells the story of Google's Robber Baron rap sheet, in advance of Google's Wednesday Senate antitrust hearing.

  • The post is documented with 79 links to the supporting evidence.

The post also explains why Google's Board of Directors have been AWOL while all this scofflaw behavior has been going on.

Why Google's Motorola Patent Play Backfires -- My Forbes Tech Capitalist Post

I am now also a contributor for Forbes writing the Tech Capitalist blog:

  • Click here for my first post: Why Motorola's Patent Play Backfires.

FCC Denies the Effective Wireless Competition Staring it in the Face -- Internet Competition Series Part III

In another blow to its competition policy credibility and objectivity, the FCC's 308 page, 15th Wireless Competition Report, amazingly reached no conclusion about whether the wireless market was effectively competitive, despite overwhelming evidence of effective competition throughout the report and a dearth of evidence in the report of any discernible anti-competitive issues that would suggest the wireless market was somehow not effectively competitive.

 

  • The stark incongruity between the overwhelming evidence in the report, and the absence of what should have been an easy report conclusion that the wireless market is effectively competitive, is certainly not "data-driven policy making at work.
  • It appears to be politics at work to support and provide political cover for the FCC's maverick policy desire to promote de-competition policy and more expansive FCC economic regulation and common carrier-like duties a la net neutrality and data roaming -- in the face of strong opposition from Congress and the Courts that the FCC is over-reaching its statutory authority.

 

If only the FCC absorbed the significance of the data compiled in their own report, the FCC would conclude that the wireless market was effectively competitive.

 

FTC-Google Antitrust Primer: Top Ten Q&A

Find an FTC-Google Antitrust Primer here that asks and answers the Top Ten Questions about:

  • Google's admission it has received a subpoena and is under formal investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust violations; and
  • What the FTC is likely investigating and thinking, given that the FTC cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

This primer is based on a combination of new analysis and an update of the best of four years of Google antitrust research, which can be found at: www.Googleopoly.net.

The Top Ten Q&A are:

Google has 93.7% Share of U.S. Search Revenues & Is Rapidly Taking Share

 

With reports of the FTC's looming antitrust investigation of Google, it is highly-relevant that Google now has ~93.7% of U.S. revenue share of search advertising and that Google has taken ~26% of the search advertising revenue share that it did not have a year ago.

  • Google continues to relentlessly gobble up massive search advertising revenue share from its only significant competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft (which have combined forces in search in the last year), in part because:
    • Google's relevant search revenues are 24x bigger than Yahoo's and 39x bigger that Microsoft's; and
    • Google is growing its huge search revenue base so much faster -- +27% to Yahoo's -19% and Microsoft's +14%.
      • (These revenue share calculations are relatively easy to do -- they are explained in detail at the end of this post.)

 

Many do not realize that antitrust authorities already believe that Google is a monopoly, because the most commonly cited market share numbers in the media are from ComScore, which tracks share of searches not search advertising revenue share.

Glass House Google Throws Stones

The company that has copied all the world's information on its servers without permission and has a mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," ironically has decided to be publicly indignant about the alleged copying of its public search information.

 

  • It is the supreme irony that "glass-house Google" has accused Microsoft of copying Google's public search results.
    • In a blog post Google shared its purpose behind its stone-throwing accusation: "...to those who have asked what we want out of this, the answer is simple: we'd like for this practice to stop."

It pathetically ironic that Google can comprehend that it does not like to have its own claimed private or proprietary information copied and made accessible to the world for free, but Google cannot comprehend why anyone else would not like Google to copy their private or proprietary information without permission and make it available to the world for free.

Let's review all of the other entities who like Google would "like for this practice to stop" -- by Google.

Could Google now possibly better understand why:

 

Why Google-ITA is like Microsoft-Intuit 1995

A helpful way to understand and put in perspective Google's proposed purchase of ITA Software, the dominant provider of flight search technology, is to identify Google-ITA's best historical and logical analog. That would be Microsoft's 1995 proposed purchase of Intuit-Quicken, the then dominant provider of financial software technology. That transaction was blocked by the DOJ as anti-competitive and was a key precursor decision to the DOJ's ultimate decision to sue Microsoft in 1998 for monopolization under the Sherman Act.

The reason so many people ask: "Is Google the next Microsoft?" is because the analogy is so apt.

First, in over thirty years, Microsoft is the only major company other than Google to establish a national monopoly via technology, generate broad serious antitrust complaints, and attract a Sherman Act anti-monopolization case from the DOJ.

Second, Google-ITA is very similar to Microsoft-Intuit as both attempted to leverage their horizontal industry dominance vertically into a non-tech market vertical of the economy, i.e. Microsoft into personal finance software and Google into travel search software.

 

House Net Neutrality Legislation Takeaways

House Democrats have proposed a resolution to Net Neutrality that strongly signals to the FCC majority to not pursue its considered Title II reclassification of broadband as a 1934 regulated telephone service. The House Democrats' draft is here. The implications of this House draft are broad, important and constructive.

First, this House Democrat draft signals to the FCC Democrat majority loud and clear that House Democrats do not support the radical FreePress-driven proposal to regulate broadband Internet networks as 1934 common carrier telephone networks.

Second, it proves that the FreePress-driven proposal to takeover the Internet and regulate it as a public utility is extreme, way out of the political mainstream, and a non-starter.

Third, this legislation proposes a sensible resolution and workable alternative to this destructive polarizing issue that is serving no one who seeks an open Internet that works, grows and innovates without anti-competitive concerns, but only the revolutionary interests of FreePress and its allies that claim they want net neutrality, but really seek a utopian "information commons revolution."

Japan -- Powered by Google

Japan effectively has outsourced the organization, storage and access to its nation's information, culture, history, and online commerce to one entity, Google, in consenting to a national monopoly search engine/ad platform for Japan going forward.  

  • Unlike Japan's neighbors, China, Korea, and Russia, Japan apparently has chosen to not promote an indigenous Japanese search engine/advertising platform, or to ensure search competition -- a fateful tacit decision that heralds that Japan will more likely become a de facto third world online economy long term.   

Apparently Japan's Fair Trade Commission or Government have not thought through all the huge ramifications of putting all their information eggs-in-one-basket from a competition, cultural, political, economic, privacy, or national security perspective.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths