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Antitrust

Google has an "Open Net Coalition" Problem... already!

I always love to juxtapose a couple of stories to point out irony.

Yesterday, I blogged that Tech Daily reported that the Google gang, AKA ItsOurNet ... will be relaunched in May as the "Open" Net coalition.

Well today I laughed out loud when I read in Tech Daily, that Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales is promoting a new collaborative search process like the wiki online encyclopedia.

  • Wales said: "I believe Internet search is currently broken and the way to fix it is to build a community whose mission is to develop a search platform that is open and totally transparent."   

Seems like those who really know "open" don't think Google is worthy of its self annointed name of the "Open" Net Coalition.

The "Open Net Coalition" -- "ItsOurNet" Part II -- They're back!

The ItsOurNet coalition is relaunching under a new name the "Open Internet Coalition" in May according to Todays' National Journal's Tech Daily .

  • The article intimates that the new incarnation of the online giant coalition may not include Microsoft.
    • Since ItsOurNet formed last year Google was much more radical and hyper-regulatory than Microsoft was comfortable with.
    • After coming out swinging the antitrust bat when Google outbid Microsoft, it will be very surprising if Microsoft rejoins Google's gang after parting ways with ItsOurNet last fall.

I must say I am sad to see the ItsOurNet name fall by the wayside, it was a glorious pinata of a concept.

  • I needled ItsOurNet when they announced their name that it was a tad bit greedy for the online giants to claim in their name that they "owned" the Internet.
  • I suggested it would have been a little wiser and fit with their "democratic" message to have called it "ItsEveryonesNet" or "ItsEverybodysNet".
  • But no, they apparently are calling it the "Open Net coalition" or "OpenNetCoalition.com."
  • Not bad but for grins, quickly checkout an Internet artifact before they pull it down: opennetcoalition.org.

It also will be interesting to see if they have retooled the substance of their message and if they will abandon Moveon.org and the Dorgan-Snowe bill to try and appear more reasonable and practical.

Reading between the lines of the article it seems Moveon is "on" the defensive so to speak.

lastly it will be interesting to see if:

Google as "Big Brother" and the "dark side" of accessible info

The New York Times article today on Google highlights another reason all Americans should be worried about Google's anti-competitive arbitrage of U.S. privacy laws and consumer expectations.

  • "Google has been working with officials in Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia to make some of that information more broadly available." 
    • That "information'  is the data on state websites; and is part of Google's mission "to make all the world's information accessible and useful." 
  • "But the increased exposure of government records through web searches is likely to raise privacy concerns."
  • "It will be easier to collect disparate facts about a person, which bound together and aggregated, can present troubling problems..." 

I just heard someone joke:

Google's watching you... they say its for your own good...it gives me the creeps!

Google just announced a new so called "service" for you: "Web History."

You know what gives me the creeps about this?

  •  Google is trying to act like this computerized "intimacy theft," the systematic spying and mass archiving of the intimate private search lives of Americans for the benefit of the highest bidder -- is for the average American's benefit
    • Please don't insult our intelligence.
  • Reportedly 9 of 10 Google users think their search histories are private information.
    • Uh oh.
    • These unsuspecting and trusting Americans are being treated as suckers by Google.

How do we know Google does not sell or give access to this extremely intimate info to the government or the highest bidder?

  • Just like 9 of 10 Americans don't know their intimate privacy is being stolen, I'll posit that 9 of 10 Google users will never avail themselves of this so called "service."

You know what gives me the most creeps about Google's Web History service?

DoubleClick claims it won't share privacy data with Google -- huh? "Intimacy theft"

The WSJ reported DoubleClick Inc. "Defends its deal with Google" by "pledging that the information it collects about, and for, its graphical-advertising customers won't be shared with Google after the acquisition later this year."

Let's be real here. They really do think everyone is stupid.

  • First, Doubleclick is being bought by Google so what Doubleclick says now doesn't matter after the transaction closes.
  • To be taken seriously this pledge needs to made by Google in writing and enforceable as part of the transaction contractually or by court decree.
  • It is unlikely that Google will agree to this restriction because Google knows that it can simply change the DoubleClick policy and harmonize it with Google's very loose privacy policy on a going forward basis.
  • This public pledge is also a swiss cheese committment.
    • With weak privacy policies like Google's, it's about "sins of ommission" what they don't say or commit to, not "sins of commission" what they actually say in their byzantine privacy policy.   

Privacy issues are Google's achilles heel. Google is growing so fast and is so profitable largely because they are most aggressively arbitraging privacy law and american's privacy expectations. The FT said Google's brand is now number 1 in the world.

Translating Google's spectacular earnings call

Google turned in another awe-inspring financial performance in 1Q07. Pick your news report for the basics. All you need to know is revenue growth was up 63%. Wow!

  • Derek Brown of Cantor Fitzgerald said in the Washington Post today:
    • "I am basically convinced that no company in history has put up the type of finanical performance that Google has put up from a growth and financial perspective for as long as they have done it."
  • It's hard to disagree with him. There is no other example.
  • They are a jugernaut.

Let me translate some of the earnings call:

Top 10 questions for reporters/analysts to ask Google on its earnings call

Given my recent 10-page white paper which analyzes the antitrust and competitive implications of the Google-DoubleClick merger, I thought it would be helpful public service to pose some questions that reporters/analysts consider asking Google's CEO Mr. Schmidt on Google's earnings call.

  1. Does Google have a 50% "antitrust dominant" share of the search market?
  2. Is search the new Internet browser?
  3. Is search the largest Internet access gatekeeper?
  4. Is Google the new Microsoft of the Internet?
  5. Would the DoubleClick acquisition foreclose competition in the Internet advertising market?

How Google-Double-Click is exploiting antitrust law's soft underbelly

The news of Google acquiring Double-Click prompted me to spend a good part of my weekend analyzing the competitive implications of this seminal proposed acquisition for the future of the Internet.

My analysis focused on answering the following key questions of interest:

  • What is Google's real competitive endgame with DoubleClick?
  • Why is this acqusition likely to pass antitrust muster?
  • Why will Google increasingly dominate Internet search?
  • What other anticompetitive behaviors by Google position Google to dominate Internet advertising?

Summary of my conclusions:

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths