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Larry Page's Biggest Challenges as Google CEO

Larry Page is very different from Eric Schmidt, consequently he will be a completely different Google CEO.

 

  • Mr. Page is the internal hardliner and the main driving force behind Google, providing the uber-ambition, the "open" philosophy/ideology zeal, the passion-for-innovation, and the impatient, aggressive take-no-prisoners approach to most everything Google does.
  • Mr. Page has always been the penultimate power, final decision-maker and driving force inside Google behind the scenes.
  • Mr. Schmidt has been the co-founders' public face and very able implementer and businessman.

 

The biggest difference people will notice will be external relations.

First, Schmidt and Page are polar opposites when it comes to external relations.

Why Google's Privacy Controls are a Joke -- Lessons for FTC/FCC

Google's latest privacy controls are a bad joke, certainly not sufficient to warrant the FTC completely absolving serial privacy violator Google from all responsibility in the Google WiSpy Affair, especially given that other law enforcement bodies have found misrepresentation of facts and violation of users' privacy.

 

  • Hopefully, the FCC's investigation of Google WiSpy will not look the other way like the FTC apparently did, when a Fortune 200 company with the industry's longest privacy violation rap sheet, was caught red-handed violating millions of Americans' privacy and found to have misrepresented facts and misled investigators, got off without any FTC sanction, oversight or accountability whatsoever.

 

Why are Google's latest privacy controls insufficient?

First, Google's leadership is clearly not publicly supportive of more privacy controls, but openly skeptical and defiant that Google does not need to alter its approach to innovation to better protect privacy and security.

Why AOL's Google Dependency is an AOL-Yahoo Antitrust Issue

Press reports of AOL's interest in buying or partnering with Yahoo appear to have missed another potential serious deal complication -- antitrust scrutiny.

 

  • Let me be clear, I am not suggesting an AOL-Yahoo combination on its own would raise direct traditional antitrust issues, but its hard to see how it would not attract substantial antitrust/collusion scrutiny given all the indirect antitrust red flags an AOL-Yahoo tie-up would raise -- i.e. Google vs Yahoo-Microsoft, Google-ITA Software, Google's tying of search and Google Maps for Google Places/Android, etc.

 

First, AOL is financially-dependent on Google; Google is Yahoo's biggest and most stable long-term client feeding AOL with about a fifth of its revenues -- via a recently signed 5-year agreement for Google to continue to be AOL's search monetization engine. This deal was negotiated by AOL's CEO, a former longtime senior executive at Google. Simply in antitrust terms, AOL can be viewed as a satellite of Google, because AOL has hitched its financial/business/growth wagon to Google Search, Google Mobile/Android and potentially Google Places.

Google's mandatory location profiling/tracking

Google won't allow you to opt-out of their location tracking for search, we learn from CNET's Chris Matyszczyk's outstanding post "How Google stops you hiding your location."

  • Kudos to Mr. Matyszczyk for spotlighting this latest "creepy line" Google default mandate.

What does this mean?

First, it means that Google has not learned much from its serial privacy problems, like Google setting a default that everyone's house should be included in StreetView photographing and Spi-Fi signal recording, and everyone that signed up for Google Buzz by default should share their Gmail addresses with the public.

Second, it means that Google profiles and tracks your location by default and that you can't opt out from Google knowing where you are, you can only select what local setting Google will use to customize your search results.

 

Why is the FTC AWOL on Google Privacy?

Congress needs to conduct oversight hearings to learn why the FTC is apparently giving Google special treatment, and more specifically why the FTC inexplicably dropped its Google StreetView spi-fi privacy probe without any charges, before it even learned all the facts, and without any accountability mechanism in place to protect consumers or prevent repeat violations.

Google's wanton wardriving in 33 countries for over three years secretly recording people's WiFi transmissions, including full emails and passwords, arguably is the single broadest privacy breach in the Internet era. And the FTC did nothing. And the FTC sees no need for any further action. Amazing.

What's wrong with this picture? A lot. A better question might be what's right with the FTC-Google privacy enforcement picture?

 

5 Big Reasons DOJ Will Block Google-ITA

Google's proposed purchase of ITA Software is likely to be blocked by the DOJ for five big reasons.

First, the announcement of a new FairSearch.org coalition of Google's Travel competitors opposed to the Google-ITA deal, which was first reported by Tom Catan of the WSJ, provides the DOJ with most all the elements necessary for the DOJ to block the deal: broad and deep evidence of anticompetitive effects from multiple competitors with deep understanding of the market, a sound theory of the case, and a number of credible witnesses willing to take the stand in court to block the deal.

Second, a key opposition counsel who represents IAC's Expedia, is none other that Tom Barnett, who was the DOJ Antitrust Chief in 2008, who blocked a previous Google attempt to monopolize in the Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement.

Where's the FTC on Google SpyFi?

With Canada, Spain, the UK, and 38 U.S. states all cracking down on Google's wanton wardriving spyfi scandal, where is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the supposed lead agency on protecting consumers online privacy?

The FTC's silence and apparent absence from the online privacy enforcement playing field is particularly perplexing and alarming... because now it appears that we have a company that is out-of-control in tracking consumers' private actions online, and creating total information awareness power, while we have a supposed lead privacy regulator that appears not to be leading in protecting consumers' privacy...

Google's Acquired Businesses Becoming Monopolies = Market Failure

Top Ten: 

The evidence is increasingly difficult to ignore that the FTC & DOJ, over the last two Administrations, repeatedly failed to enforce Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act, and have allowed Google's acquisitions of YouTube, DoubleClick, and AdMob to illegally "substantially... lessen competition" and "tend to create a monopoly."

 

  • This analysis will spotlight that Google's display advertising and mobile businesses would not be tending to monopoly, and would not be anti-competitively lessening competition, but for the illegal acquisition of market power via YouTube, DoubleClick, and AdMob.
  • This analysis is also a sobering backdrop of the exceptionally high stakes for the competitiveness of the online travel vertical if Google is allowed to acquire even more market power via its proposed acquisition of ITA Software.

I.  Absentee Antitrust Enforcement & Market Failure

Free markets depend on both the rule of law and the equal enforcement of the law to prevent illegal monopolization.

Google Price Index: Insider Trading & Market Failure?

Google announced it is working on an economy-wide Google Price Index, but has not decided whether to make it public, per Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian, who spoke at the National Association of Business Economists conference this week.

 

  • This development has under-appreciated implications for insider trading and also spotlights how Google's online dominance of market-relevant information suggests market failure and a new potential systemic vulnerability to the integrity of global capital markets.

 

I.  Insider Trading

In March, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "One day we had a conversation where we figured out we could just try and predict the stock market... and then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."

Now any hedge fund (or market regulator not born yesterday) understands that if Google is actively working on a Google Price Index, Google has not stopped trying to use its uniquely comprehensive and timely, repository of sensitive market information to predict information highly useful to predicting the stock market.

 

Google TV: Dumb Content vs. Content is King

Why are the Big Four networks Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS, not flocking to Google TV, the largest digital video distribution network in the the world -- by far? And why did Forrester's analyst characterize Google TV's programmer sign-ups to date as "underwhelming?"

The core reason is a profound vision and business model clash between existing programmers/distributors and Google Inc. Why?

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths