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Google busted by open source guru for not being open!

Dana Blankenhorn of ZDNet, one of the leading bloggers covering open source, blasted Google "for being no different than Microsoft" in not operating in a true open source manner despite Google's constant representations that they are 'open' and honor 'open' principles.

While I respect and read Mr. Blankenhorn's views regularly, I seldom agree with him.

  • In this instance, I must agree with him wholeheartedly as he is spotlighting an insight/theme I have long pounded on -- that Google is profoundly hypocritical, operates under massive double standards, and that its words do not match its deeds.

Bottom line:

Google you have another problem.

  • Your previously loyal base of open source advocates is abandoning you because they realize Google is not principled at all -- Google is really only out for Google.

The cure is obvious Google -- walk your talk: be truly open, be truly transparent, be 'neutral', and be forthright.

Google -- let your actions speak louder than your PR spin machine. Lead by example.


The privacy problem is Unauthorized Tracking; the privacy solution is a Meaningful Consent Standard

There was a major tectonic shift in the Internet privacy debate today at the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Internet privacy. 

Google's Biggest Customers Oppose Goohoo Ad Pact!

Google, you have a problem. The verdict of your biggest customers is in -- and you've been found guilty of not pursuing your clients' best interests.

  • The ANA, the nation's largest association of advertisers and marketers representing ~9,000 brands, just wrote the DOJ formally recommending that the DOJ oppose the Google-Yahoo advertising partnership as anti-competitive.  

I have two big takeaways for you:

  • First, despite the ANA letter, Google continues to claim that Google knows better what's best for their advertiser clients than their advertiser clients do.
  • Second, at core, the DOJ is investigating the Google Yahoo ad pact for illegal price fixing collusion; this is relevant because DOJ antitrust chief Tom Barnett has stated that prosecution of price fixing is his Division's highest enforcement priority.

First Takeaway: Google clearly doesn't subscribe to the old adage -- the customer is always right. Google knows best and isn't afraid to tell most of its biggest customers they are wrong -- in public. 

Rather than publicly respond to the anticipated ANA letter with respectful comments about how Google looks forward to better explaining how the ad pact will benefit Google's customers, Google essentially wagged their finger at their customers in public telling them they don't know what's best for themselves.  

Google's online advertising dominance grows -- Don't forget the pending DOJ investigation...

Google's dominance of the Internet's business model for monetizing content only grows.

  • "Gap widens in online advertising: Rivals struggle to catch up to Google as buyers favor search over display" reports Jessica Vascellaro in the Wall Street Journal.
  • The article's conclusion is dead on and ominous -- the gap between Google and its competitors in online advertising is widening and will continue to do so because the business that Google dominates, search advertising, is growing significantly faster than display advertising is.

As I read the article, I thought many involved in the FTC's investigation and subsequent 4-1 approval of the Google-DoubleClick merger must be getting awfully worried that they made a big mistake in not appropriately enforcing antitrust law last year when they had the opportunity.

If you want honey, don't kick the beehive! -- Google to DOJ: We're going ahead with Yahoo regardless

Google is so arrogant it isn't even aware it is being arrogant.

Per a San Francisco Chronicle article:

  • "Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. will start a high-profile advertising partnership by early October, even if federal regulators haven't yet approved the deal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday.
  • "We are going to move forward with it," Schmidt said in an interview on Bloomberg television after being asked whether the companies would wait for the Justice Department to complete its review."

Let's put this Google behavior into a little context.

DOJ antirust prosecutors are currently involved in a serious antitrust investigation of the Google-Yahoo online advertising partnership for potential Sherman Act collusion/price-fixing illegality.

  • By declaring that Google is going ahead with the Yahoo partnership, with or without approval of the DOJ -- Google is not so subtly telling the DOJ -- "we'll see you in court," "try stopping us, if you can." 
  • What words come to mind to describe Google's public behavior and effective declaration of legal war by their CEO?
    • Arrogant? insolent? disrespectful? defiant? impolitic? inflamatory? tactless? imprudent? unwise? or just downright dumb?   

Bottom line: Normal companies, who respect the rule of law and law enforcement authorities, understand the old adage that "if you want honey, don't kick the beehive."

  • But Google is not normal, its special -- it has a "don't-be-evil motto" "get out of jail free card." No jail is big enough to hold Google! 

Let me leave you with this analogy:

Why "Google Yahoo ad deal is bad for online advertising"

Harvard Business School Professor Benjamin Edelman posted his earlier House antitrust testimony on why the "Google Yahoo ad deal is bad for online advertising." 

  • Professor Edelman debunks Google's claim that auctions determine Google's search prices by explaining how in many cases Google actually sets the price of search through its reserve pricing policy.
  • He also explains why Google is not being truthful when it claims that advertisers can easily take their data with them -- in reality Google impedes advertisers ability to use alternative advertising platforms through a technical "API" barrier to entry. 

In short, it is a useful and concise read, for those closely following the Google Yahoo deal and those trying to determine whether or not the DOJ will have problems with the proposed online advertising partnership.

  • It adds to the mounting evidence that a "partnership" between a dominant #1 Google and Google's leading online advertising competitor, Yahoo, is in fact anti-competitive collusion and a de facto price fixing scheme.    



What 3Q earnings tell us about Google-Yahoo Antitrust Review; GOOG-YHOO earn ~100% of profits

With the 3Q08 earnings releases by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in the last few days, DOJ antitrust investigators of the Google-Yahoo partnership now get their first fresh look at the most recent revenue and profit market shares for this market.

Read an insightful piece: "Google: the mother of antitrust battles?" in The Register

Anyone interested in Google's increasing dominance or the Google-Yahoo partnership should read Andrew Orlowski's great piece in The Register: "Google the mother of antirust battles?"

  • It is always helpful to get an insightful and different perspective from "across the pond."   

Kohl: "Pretty explosive stuff" on hearing Microsoft's testimony of Yahoo's collusive admission

Blogging from the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, there was a very surprising development several minutes ago.

  • Chairman Kohl characterized as "pretty explosive stuff" how Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith recounted what Yahoo Ceo Jerry Yang told Microsoft last month in a meeting with several witnesses.
  • Per Microsoft's Smith: Jerry Yang said that the search market was "bi-polar" with Google on one pole and others on the other pole.
    • Yang indicated that Yahoo was going to join the Google "pole" because the other pole was not viable. 

Under oath, Senator Spector followed up on the Chairman's interchange and asked Brad Smith if he stood by this characterization of CEO Yang's "bipolar" comments -- and he replied "absolutely!"

  • When Senator Spector asked, in a prosecutor's style, if Yahoo's General Counsel  was at that meeting, he said he was but that he did "not recall" Yang's "bi-polar" comment and disagreed with Microsoft's characterization. 

As anyone in Washington appreciates, and Senators Kohl and Spector certainly appreciated, someone was not telling the truth.

  • I strongly believe that the DOJ will want to depose all the witnesses at that meeting, under oath and under penalty of perjury, about that comment and whether it is true or not. 

If Microsoft's testimony was true, which I believe it was, because of the serious personal risk of perjury to Mr. Smith, it is "pretty explosive stuff" as Chairman Kohl described. 

Debunking the Google-Yahoo Antitrust Myths

In advance of the Senate and House antitrust hearings on Google-Yahoo, I thought it would be useful to debunk some of the primary antitrust myths you will likely hear.


Myth #1: There can’t be an antitrust problem as long as consumers are just one click away from a competitive search engine.


Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths