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"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...

  • The real value in the Business week story is helping people think about if Google will be too powerful in the future.
    • In my mind that's the most relevant point.

One notable quote from early in this long piece was:

  • "And get this: in the valley and in Washington D.C., there is even cocktail chatter about whether the search giant's power needs to be reined in by antitrust regulators."  
  • I'll take some credit for adding to that antitrust "chatter" as being one of the first to raise this concern in my blog series "Countdown to 50% share: Google approaching antitrust dominance status part I"

My favorite quote from Google in the cover story is in the classic genre of assertions "we are from the government, we are here to help you". Sure.

  • "We're not competing with newspapers, we're not competing with television stations, and we are not competing with the Viacoms of the world." insists Google Chief Executive Eric E. Schmidt. We are trying to partner with them."
    • Yeah sure.
    • The image that pops into my head is the classic horror movie "Alien" easily the scariest movie I have ever seen.
      • In that movie the alien "partners" with humans by planting itself inside their bodies and when it has gestated and grown to a big enough size -- it bursts out of the human host splattering its human host all over the place. 

Clearly there is a growing phalanx of companies who in fact see Google as a competitor or "Alien"-like "partner", and who do not buy Google's seductive bribe pitch: just let us do your advertising better for you and we will quietly insert Google in between you and the customer... and before you know it, Google is the main relationship of value to the client and the company becomes a lower-value, and highly-dependent wholesaler to Google.  

All the companies and industries that Google routinely steals from, think Google has gotten too powerful: Viacom, the Motion Picture Association, the newspapers, the publishers and authors, trademark owners to name just some of the folks that are suing Google for theft of their intellectual property. 

  • These folks see what Google calls "negotiations"; bribes to stay quiet and drop the theft charges against them.

Bottomline: Google is rapidly getting too powerful and their behavior is getting increasingly predatory by the quarter. Systematic theft is the ultimate in anti-competitive behavior.