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Google now tying website speed to search ranking -- Why is that anti-competitive?

Google announced 4-9-10 that "we've decided to take speed into account in our search rankings" in a Google blog post by Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts entitled: "Using site speed in web search ranking." (Thanks to the Register's Cade Metz for flagging this issue.)

DOJ/EU: Microsoft-Yahoo Pro-Competitive, Google's a Monopoly

The biggest takeaway from the U.S. DOJ (and the EU) approving the Microsoft-Yahoo search partnership without any restrictions is that the Varney DOJ Antitrust Division implicitly agrees with the Barnett DOJ Antitrust Division (which blocked the Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement) --  that Google is indeed an dominant and enduring search advertising monopoly

If the DOJ did not believe Google was a monopoly, traditional antitrust analysis would have had more serious problems with the #2 and #3 competitors in a highly concentrated market combining forces.

This is a negative precursor for Google generally -- that they are indeed the next big antitrust problem of this decade.

It is also a negative precursor for the:

  • FTC's antitrust review of Google-AdMob; and
  • DOJ's review of the Google Book  Settlement.

Google, you have a problem.

 

Net Neutrality is a Made-Up Issue: The Smoking Gun

To see "smoking gun" proof that "net neutrality" is a made-up issue and argument, read the short but telling excerpt below from George Lakoff's Book: "Thinking Points" published October 3, 2006, when the only net neutrality incident at that time was the FCC's Consent Decree with rural telco, Madison River Communications in February 2005.  

From Thinking Points, Chapter 8, The Art of Arguments:

"Thus, the argument for Net neutrality becomes an argument for government regulation in this form by the FCC.

DOJ's Interest in Reviewing the Google-Twitter Agreement

What would be the DOJ's interest in having a formal investigation/review of the Google-Twitter agreement?

Google-Twitter search agreement delayed for DOJ antitrust review?

Microsoft publicly announced it has already launched a beta of bing Twitter that incorporates Twitter tweets into Microsoft's search results, while Google also announced an agreement with Twitter, but said in an announcement blog post that: "we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months."

The glaring question is why Google, which prides itself on speed and innovation, and which routinely launches new products and services in beta, will not offer a Twitter product for "months."

The most logical conclusion is what I blogged and tweeted about on October 9th: "Will Google seek DOJ approval of any Twitter agreement?"

Advertising Agencies Urge DOJ to Approve Microsoft-Yahoo Search Agreement

In stark contrast to their opposition to the Google-Yahoo ad agreement, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (the 4As) is now urging the DOJ to quickly approve the Microsoft-Yahoo search agreement because they "believe that Yahoo! and Microsoft's proposal to combine their technologies and search platforms is good for advertisers, marketing services agencies, web publishers, and consumers."

  • This letter is powerful evidence that the advertising industry remains deeply concerned about Google's dominance of search advertising, and welcomes the prospect of a more viable search advertising competitive alternative -- i.e. the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo's search agreement.

Will Google seek DOJ approval of any Twitter agreement?

Reuters reports that Twitter is in talks with Google and Microsoft about "licensing its data feed to the companies search engines."

If a Google-Twitter agreement materializes, surely the DOJ will want to review any proposed Google-Twitter agreement for antitrust issues.

Google: Antitrust's Pinocchio?

First, antitrust's modern day Pinocchio claimed that competition is just "one click away," now Google is claiming that the notion that scale is important to search competition is "bogus."

  • Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian is pushing a preposterous, self-serving argument in CNET that scale is not important to search competition:
    • "...the scale arguments are pretty bogus in our view because it's not the quantity or quality of the ingredients that make a difference, it's the recipes. We think we're where we are today because we've got better recipes...  I also think we have a better kitchen..."

Why is Google's "bogus" claim bogus?

First, does Google think for a minute that antitrust enforcers' investigations have not assembled substantial evidence/quotes from Google itself about the importance of scale in search?

Where else will a viable competitive alternative to Google come from, if not from a Yahoo-Microsoft deal?

The core question at the heart of the DOJ's review of the proposed Yahoo-Microsoft search partnership is where else will competition to Google's increasing dominance come from, if not from the proposed Yahoo-Microsoft search partnership? 

The DOJ has deep and current expertise in this market given their investigation of the Google-Yahoo ad partnership last fall and DOJ's current investigation of the Google Book Settlement. The DOJ also appreciates the facts that:

Ironically Zittrain's "Lost in the Cloud" emphasizes three of my big concerns/themes

Jonathan Zittrain's NYTimes Op-ed today, "Lost in the Clouds" ironically captured three of my big concerns/themes about the Internet and its natural outgrowth -- cloud computing.

  • I recommend this op-ed because it pulls together a whole host of converging Internet issues that others generally treat separately.
  • The problem with writing about these issues separately is that much of the richness of how these inter-related issues interact -- is lost.  

    Zittrain: "The cloud, however, comes with real dangers."

    • I agree. That has been much of the point of my 13 part series since the first of the year:
      • "The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem"

    Zittrain: "Worse, data stored online has less privacy protection both in practice and under the law."

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths