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Conflict of Interest

Glass House Google Throws Stones

The company that has copied all the world's information on its servers without permission and has a mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," ironically has decided to be publicly indignant about the alleged copying of its public search information.


  • It is the supreme irony that "glass-house Google" has accused Microsoft of copying Google's public search results.
    • In a blog post Google shared its purpose behind its stone-throwing accusation: " those who have asked what we want out of this, the answer is simple: we'd like for this practice to stop."

It pathetically ironic that Google can comprehend that it does not like to have its own claimed private or proprietary information copied and made accessible to the world for free, but Google cannot comprehend why anyone else would not like Google to copy their private or proprietary information without permission and make it available to the world for free.

Let's review all of the other entities who like Google would "like for this practice to stop" -- by Google.

Could Google now possibly better understand why:


Skyhook Wireless is Google's Netscape -- Googleopoly VII: Monopolizing Location Services

Skyhook Wireless' anticompetitive complaints are to Google's antitrust problems what Netscape's complaints were to DOJ's anti-monopolization case against Microsoft -- i.e. the most blatant, understandable, and strategically-important example of abusing monopoly power to monopolize a linchpin technology in order to extend the monopoly into other strategic markets.


  • Simply, Skyhook Wireless is the poster child victim of Google monopoly abuse.



I.  Why is Skyhook-Google analogous to  Netscape-Microsoft ?

Of all the many claims of anti-competitive behavior against Google that I have reviewed over the last four years, I believe the Skyhook complaints are the charges that Google should be most worried about and that the DOJ/EU should be most interested in.

Google Sides with Wikileaks

It is stunning that Google's decision to side with Julian Assange's Wikileaks and make all the stolen secret, private and proprietary Wikileaks information universally accessible to the world via Google search, has gotten virtually no media attention, given the:


  • International carnage and controversy caused by Wikileaks reprehensible actions;
  • Media's broad coverage of Wikileaks;
  • Google's serial disrespect for others as evidenced by its serial privacy, IP, cybersecurity, and antitrust problems around the world that have been broadly covered by the media; and
  • Google is the world's leading source for accessing Wikileaks secret, private and proprietary information.


When Google's Acting CEO Eric Schmidt told the DLD media conference in Munich (as reported by Reuters):


FCC Defines Broadband Service as "BIAS"-ed

In our acronym-driven society, the FCC in its News Release on its Open Internet Order, does fairness and broadband providers a great disservice in creating a new definition for broadband service as "Broadband Internet Access Service" -- or the acronym "BIAS."

Given that the FCC has not proven its allegation with facts or analysis that broadband providers operate in a non-neutral or discriminatory way after eight years of looking for it, it is particularly unfair, discriminatory, and prejudicial for the adjudicative FCC to literally define the service that it is alleging to be non-neutral as "BIAS."

With all the other potential permutations of words to define broadband service in a new way in order to impose net neutrality rules, it is an unfortunate and unlikely coincidental acronym.

Would it not raise the question that a judge was not impartial, if the judge created a term to classify a group of defendants that had the acronym "GUILTY?" or SCOFFLAW?

Does it not raise the question that the FCC is not an impartial arbiter of net neutrality disputes, if the FCC effectively re-classified broadband service as inherently "BIAS"-ed?

Does it not create the appearance that the FCC has made up its mind in pre-judging that a broadband provider's service offering is "BIAS"-ed and inherently guilty-until-proven-innocent of alleged violations of net neutrality and openness?


Fact-Checking Google's Antitrust Defense -- Part VI in Google Pinocchio Series

In a rare public antitrust defense, Google posted a rebuttal of Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein's challenge of Google's strategy of buying its way to broader market dominance (via its pending acquisition of ITA Software that is being reviewed by the DOJ.)

Google's standard misdirection warrants fact-checking.

First, Google claims: "All companies make 'build vs. buy' decisions. The clear subtext here is that Google is no different than any other company making acquisitions, so if others have had their mergers approved so should Google -- fair is fair.

This is misleading because Google is omitting highly material facts of how Google is very different than other companies, and why ITA arguably is a very special case.


Google's "Pushmepullyou" Conflict: "Contextual Discovery"

Google's signaled change in its business model toward "contextual discovery," represents maybe the most overt and profound conflict of interest ever in Google's already massively-conflicted business model.


  • At Le Web in Paris, Google senior executive Marissa Mayer said (paraphrased by Techcrunch): "It is also contextual discovery. Take a users location as a piece of context for finding what they want without them actually searching for anything. We have a couple of things we are experimenting with, but it will be out in the next year."
  • Mayer went on to declare: "The idea is to push information to people."


So what's Google's "Pushmepullyou" conflict of interest?


  • (A Pushmepullyou is a mythical four-legged llama-like animal in the movie Dr. Doolittle that has two heads at each end facing in opposite directions. See here.)


Remember Google's search engine is a classic "pull" product and business. A user directs a search, and "pulls" in the requested results to their device.


  • Google has built its now monopoly search advertising business on being the most efficient site for users to direct searches of the web with the ostensible promise of objective and unbiased results.


A Google Android Botnet Problem? "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Part X of Series

Hackers have discovered a new serious security vulnerability in certain Android smartphones that is not easily or quickly patched because of Android's open and fragmented platform -- per Joseph Menn's report in the FT.


  • Specifically an HTC Android browser vulnerability enables a hacker to take broad control of an Android device.


The potential security implications of this are even more serious than they first appear.


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.

Google Wi-Spy Was an Intentional Plan to Beat Skyhook Wireless

Google's 'Wi-Spy' vacuuming of all of everyone's WiFi signals was no "mistake" -- as Google has repeatedly asserted -- but part of a purposeful and comprehensive Google business expansion plan to enter, catch up and compete with SkyHook Wireless, Google's only significant competitor in mobile location services. (In September, Skyhook sued Google for deceptive and unfair trade practices and patent infringement.)


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.