You are here

Congress

Google's behavior called "fundamentally dishonest" by Democratic Congressman

National Journal's Tech Daily had an interesting article today reminding us that there is yet another dimension to Google's untrustworthy business behavior.

  • "Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., wrote a letter Friday, demanding an explanation as to why Google had replaced recent photography with images depicting the region before it was devastated by the hurricane.
  • Miller spokeswoman Luann Canipe said: "The congressman's concern is that it was fundamentally dishonest. Certainly the most basic question is, 'Did someone ask you to change the maps and if so, who was it?'" "

What is important here is this is just part of a well documented history and pattern of Google not doing the right thing and making a mockery of their double-negative corporate motto: "Don't be evil."

700 MHz auction: Latest la la land attempt to impose net neutrality

SaveTheInternet's Free Press arm and other liberal advocacy groups are going to ask the FCC to impose net neutrality on the winners of the upcoming 700 MHz wireless auction, according to Tech Daily on 3-30-07.

  • While I guess I have to give these groups credit for their persistence, they are basically spitting into the wind on this one.

Less than two weeks ago, the FCC unanimously voted to classify wireless broadband as an unregulated information service which pratically means that net neutrality does not apply to wireless broadband.

Great new flash video on Exaflood -- net nuetrality misses forest for trees

The Fiber to the Home Council has produced a great new flash video highlighting the "Exaflood" of data that is literally flooding the Internet requiring it to be upgraded.

  • Don't miss this four-minute, very-informative flash video.
  • It helps the average person to make sense of all the changes on the Internet and how they all add up to one big thing:
    • that Internet capacity needs to increase BIG TIME and fast!

Its a great problem to have.

  • The need to constantly upgrade, build-up and build-out the Internet is a great testament to the Internet's ever-increasing value and dynamism in everyone's lives; and it is also a testament to the competitiveness of everything Internet.
  • Anything good deserves investment to protect it and improve it.

Why I like the flash video so much is that it persuasively spotlights how vibrant and healthy the Internet is today.

  • Net neutrality proponents are really missing the boat here.
  • They are hysterical that the only big Internet issue is net neutrality -- preemptively solving a non-existent problem.

If net neutrality proponents were more responsible they would also be focused on solving real (not hypotheical)  ongoing problems that are critical to every user every day, which is how to increase the Internet's capacity so that it can continue to operate as it has or better.

The Bottom line: Net neutrality proponents are missing the proverbial forest for the trees.

 

"Is Google too Powerful?" Yep. Read the Business Week cover story

Business Week's cover story is: "Is Google too Powerful?" is exactly the question a major publication that thinks ahead should be asking. 

Business Week has done everyone a favor in posing this cover question because it will get folks looking at Google in a new way -- as the dominant antitrust concern of the market place in the decade ahead, like Microsoft was in the 1990's, AT&T was in the late 1970s/early 1980s and IBM was in the 1950s.

Mark my words, the words "Google" and "antitrust" will be heard much more frequently together -- in the years ahead -- as Google has gone from 35% to 50% market share today in a couple of years and is on path inexorably towards 60-70% share in the next few years.

  • This means that the Google "audience" already the largest in the history of the world, at almost a half billion people, is on path towards a billion people worldwide in just the next few years.
  • That unprecedented concentration of power in the "all-content" market is enough to give anyone the willies.
  • Why the word antitrust will be used more and more concerning Google is also that Google is extremely aggressive and arrogant in buying market share (Dell, AOL, Myspace, YouoTube etc.) and is pursuing many market strategies that have the ancillary benefit of destroying many of their potential competitors business models.
    • Google can gloss over their behavior for now, but evidence of their potentially anti-competitive strategies will grow and the already huge chorus of injured parties will grow to a deafening roar in the years ahead.    

While it is clearly debatable if Google is too powerful today...

A must-read economists' joint statement on Net Neutrality

I sincerely hope that everyone who cares substantively about the net neutrality issue, on either side of the debate, reads the new 2-1/2 page "Economists' Statement on Network Neutrality Policy" by the AEI-Brookings oint Center for Regulatory Studies.

  • This joint statement is a brief and easy read,  and is among the clearest, most reasonable, and value-added statements I have seen on the subject.
  • It should not be surprising then that it is written jointly by some of the best and most respected regulatory economists in the country.

We are still waiting to read a cogent, well-reasoned and supported piece of work that supports the policy of Net neutrality. All we have gotten is assertions, hypotheticals --virtually no facts or analysis from the other side.

Rock the Net: a bad "lip synching" performance of Moveon.org's song

The Future of Music has created a supposed new "coalition" "Rock the Net" to promote net neutrality by banding together music groups who have been suckered into fearing that the Internet will somehow be taken away from them -- without net neutrality legislation.

This is not about policy or legislation.  

This is a cheap publicity stunt.

"Rock the net" is basically a bad "lip synching performance" by music groups singing liberal Moveon.org's pre-canned song.

  • No musician at their Rock the Net press conference showed any understanding whatsoever of the net neutrality issue or how musicians might be threatened without NN legislation. 
  • They just "lip synched" Moveon.org's lyrics. 

"Lip synching" is the perfect metaphor for the supposed net neutrality grass roots "movement" overall.

Google-Youtube -- what's really going on

Google-YouTube like to spin that the billion-dollar copyright law suit from Viacom and the new online venture by NBC-Newscorp is just about "negotiating."

  • Don't believe it.
  • This is not simply a negotiation over "price;" it's all about video competition and the viability of video business models going forward. 
  • Google-YouTube are the video networks biggest competitive long term threat, not their natural "business partner."

What's really going on is Google-YouTube is trying to disintermediate all video content and network companies.

  • Google believes it has a more efficient monetization mechanism for advertising than any of the current or traditional models.
    • So Google is making a play to effectively insert itself in between content players and their existing customers so that Google controls the monetization of the customer relationship -- not the content company.
    • In other words, Google believes its Youtube "distribution network" as Google CEO Schmidt calls it, is superior to the content networks of NBC, CBS, Viacom, ABC-Disney, Fox-NewsCorp among others.
  • What this really is about -- is competition, not negotiation.
    •  Google wants to steal the video content players audience from them and in the online space they have largely succeeded to date.
    • According to Nielsen/NetRatings for February, YouTube had 42m audience, Google Video had 21m audience and the next three largest, AOL video, MySpace video, and MSN video, each only  have 12-13m audience a piece.

Make no mistake. Google already has built the largest "audience" of any "network" in the world -- ever.

"Put up or shut up" time: FCC launches Notice of Inquiry on NN

The most relevant part of the FCC launching a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) into the net neutality issue was FCC Bureau Chief Tom Navin testifying that no one has formally complained about blocking and no one has formally petitioned the FCC on the matter. 

  • In other words, there is no there there.

The FCC is launching an NOI to cut through the hysteria and misdirection and finally get the facts on the record.

  • The NOI is basically the FCC saying its "put up or shut up" time.
  • Make your case or go away.

While I don't think this bogus and completely unsubstantiated issue is even worthy of an NOI, I can understand why the FCC would want to launch an NOI to ensure that no one can say the FCC is not taking this issue seriously.

FCC affirming no NN for wireless broadband cements dereg precedents

The most important development for a free market Internet in the last several weeks was the FCC's  5-0 decision March 22nd to declare wireless broadband an unregulated information service.

  • In laymans terms, the FCC officially and unanimously declared that net neutrality is NOT required for wireless broadband going forward. 

Why is this a big deal?

  • The FCC legally cemented the policy precedent of regulatory parity -- for broadband de-regulation.
    • The FCC applied the Supreme Court's seminal "Brand X" de-regulatory ruling that declared cable modems an unregulated info service (2002) -- to all other mainstream broadband facilities, DSL (2005), BPL (2006) and now wireless broadband (2007).      
    • The legal facts of the FCC reiterating the same policy and technology parity logic repeatedly over several years creates a powerful phalanx of deregulatory legal precedent that future regulators will be hard-pressed to reverse piecemeal.
  • If a future FCC Chairman, say a Commissioner Copps in a potential Democratic Administration, wanted to apply Carterfone-like regulations to only wireless, that FCC ruling would likely be ruled in court to be arbitrary and capricious because it singled out wireless and treated that broadband technology much differently than other analogous broadband technologies: cable modem, DSL and BPL.
    • To be fair and legal, the FCC would have to apply new regulations in a technologically-neutral way.
  • What the FCC decided is that wireless is NOT different in a policy or legal sense.
    • This makes it much harder to legally and politically justify any eBay-Skype petition for Carterfone rules for wireless.
    • The savy observer will appreciate that this FCC ruling effectively moots the eBay-Skype petition to apply Carterfone rules to wireless.
      • I fully expect people will continue to talk about wireless Carterfone rules.
      • However, when they have to talk about it in the context of the FCC's Notice of Inquiry into NN, they will find it extremely difficult to justify that wireless is different and requires special rules.

Well done FCC!  Great de-regulatory box out!

Abusing American's privacy: part of Google's competitive advantage?

Google made news recently by adopting new privacy measures, which puts a spotlight on a real big public policy disconnect.

What I find most interesting about Google and the subject of privacy, is the glaring incongruity of these facts:

  1. Google, as the dominant search engine with ~50% of the market, arguably has more and deeper private and intimate information on American consumers than any other company in America;
  2. Google has among the weakest privacy policies of any major corporation in America;
  3. Google is not subject to any specific privacy regulations or regulator like other similarly situated major corporations that have lots of sensitive consumer information -- like financial services firms and communications companies.

Let me put that more simply:

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths