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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Sun, 2016-03-13 22:43
The recent comments and actions of the EU’s top antitrust enforcer, combined with recent drastic actions by Google, speak volumes about the tough EU antitrust outcomes Google faces going forward. While the Brussels-based media appreciate the serious antitrust risk Google faces in the EU, it is not clear whether the U.S.-based media or investors are paying much attention -- yet.
In a nutshell, recent signals from the EU and Google suggest that the conventional wisdom in the U.S. and among investors is underestimating the real antitrust risk to Google in imagining there ultimately will be a relatively benign settlement or just a fine, and not appreciating the EU’s likely Prohibition Decision remedy will impose a non-discrimination/neutrality duty against anticompetitive self-dealing, which could result in significant to substantial changes to Google’s business model and operations -- potentially globally.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2016-03-03 17:39
Few outside of Alphabet-Google understand the immense market, economic, and technological power of an unaccountable monopoly over the underlying software that controls most all mobile devices in the world. Fortunately EU antitrust enforcers are some of the few who understand it.
Android, Alphabet-Google’s licensable mobile operating system, is an apparent EU/global monopoly facing an apparent EU antitrust case in its future.
This analysis explains why Android is a monopoly for antitrust purposes; what the crux of the Android antitrust case is; and why such a case would enjoy a uniquely solid foundation.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-03-01 13:38
Looking backwards makes it hard to see what’s right in front of you.
Looking backwards at 1934-era Title II telephone utility law, the FCC concluded in its 2015 Open Internet Order that only broadband providers could be “gatekeepers” warranting net neutrality regulation to “protect and promote the “virtuous cycle” that drives innovation and investment on the Internet.”
That’s because the FCC is apparently oblivious to the very different 21st century communications “gatekeepers” right in front of them that command dramatically more potential “gatekeeper” market power than any broadband provider.
The FCC should listen to what one 21st century communications provider, which commands well over a billion social and communications users globally, has to say about the dominance of edge platforms.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-02-24 17:57
Wake up world, you’ve been disintermediated.
Google now essentially stands between you and most everyone and everything on the Internet.
Google’s dominant search engine + its dominant Android operating system (OS) + its world-leading Chrome web browser + its uniquely-comprehensive, Internet utility functionality of 193 products, services and tools = a virtual Google “Inner-net” regime.
Google’s Inner-net has practically assimilated most all of what the public open-source WorldWideWeb does for Internet users and much, much, more. And it also has practically insinuated Google-controlled code into a virtual intermediary position between most everyone and most everything on the Internet.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-02-17 11:32
It’s the FCC-forcing-proprietary-video-to-be-free-to-Google stupid!
That’s a Jim Carville-esque paraphrase of the FCC’s AllVid commercial navigation device proposal to focus the mind.
The FCC spins its AllVid proposal as pro-competition in isolation when in reality the evidence will prove it profoundly anticompetitive overall.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2016-02-11 15:56
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-02-03 18:51
In the next several weeks, expect the EC’s Competition Directorate to decide that Google is in fact dominant with >90% share of Internet search in Europe and that Google has abused its search dominance by biasing its own Shopping service over competitors. It also could formally charge Google for abuse of its search dominance in contractually tying Google Search and other search-driven apps like Maps, YouTube, etc. to Android to extend its search dominance to mobile search and to the operating system market where Android now owns >80% share.
In taking a most extreme and ultimately indefensible legal and PR position, that the EU antitrust case is “wrong as a matter of fact, law and economics,” Google has painted itself into a corner, PR-wise and politically, much more than many appreciate. Why?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-01-29 13:22
While the PR cover story of the FCC’s AllVid proposal may be about more consumer choice and competition to reduce the cost of cable set-top boxes, don’t be fooled.
In announcing it, the FCC Chairman admits there’s already consumer choice aplenty: “American consumers enjoy unprecedented choice in how they view entertainment, news and sports programming. You can pretty much watch what you want, where you want, when you want.”
And the AllVid proposal is not about saving consumers money.
If it were, the FCC would not be shunning the obvious, best and cheapest solution of replacing the need for a set-top box entirely, by modernly and naturally transitioning them to the sector norm of easily-downloadable, cheap/free apps.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Sun, 2016-01-24 21:33
Summary: Google Android’s >70% monopoly-size gross profit margins were made public for the first time when Android’s 2014 summary financials were disclosed in the Oracle v. Google copyright case (as evidence of Android’s commercial success to rebut Google’s claim that Android’s unauthorized use of Oracle’s Java APIs was “fair use” not commercial activity.) Combining this newly disclosed information with what we already know, Android likely generated a little less than a third of Alphabet’s 2015 revenues, but over a third of its 2015 gross profits. It is now clearer that the formal EU antitrust investigation of Android contractually tying Google’s dominant search to gain >80% share of the world’s smartphones will result in another EU Statement of Objections that could eclipse the current EU abuse of search dominance case in antitrust liability over time.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-01-19 10:31
The EC’s Antitrust Chief, Margrethe Vestager, is signaling that some Big Data may be anticompetitive. She recently told a conference: "These incredible powerful tools, like search engines and social media, are available for free. In many cases, that's because we as consumers have a new currency that we can use to pay for them – our data. …If a company's use of data is so bad for competition that it outweighs the benefits, we may have to step in to restore a level playing field."
The issue of whether privacy/data protection violations can be anti-competitive in Google’s case is now especially ripe.