Google Proves Crime Does Pay – If You Have Enough Market Power

Google, in settling with authors/publishers for $125m over their copyright infringement lawsuits, has cleverly leveraged its market power to tip, and lock in, another Internet segment to de facto Google monopoly control – access to most of the world’s books online. The untold story here is how this settlement:

·         Enthrones Google as the de facto gatekeeper to access most of the world’s books online;

·         Establishes a “new model” for online content distribution;

Google settles lawsuit with authors/publishers -- What it means for Google, others and antitrust

Google, the most-sued intellectual property infringer in the world, just settled a class action lawsuit with authors and publishers for $125m and a revenue sharing deal going forward;  this deal has much broader implications than most would think for Google, for other companies suing Google for theft, and for the pending Google-Yahoo ad partnership.

Implications for Google: After steadfastly maintaining that they had done nothing wrong and that they were protected by the concept of fair use, Google has now de facto conceded that it was broadly infringing on authors' and publishers' copyrights, while also signalling it feared losing in court. 

Google's credibility on privacy falls further

Google has reportedly signed onto the new Global Network Initiative, where it supposedly agrees that privacy is "a human right and guarantor of human dignity."

How does Google square this new high-minded assertion with its abysmal track record on privacy?

Google phone: What 'open' really means to Google

Google is not really for openness because Google won't allow 'open' auctions for its keyword advertising so bidders could track the bidding and have some influence over the outcome.

  • The reason Google won't allow 'open' key word auctions is that it would immediately expose how much Google anti-competitively self-deals and front-runs the auction to the advantage of Google and the disadvantage of Google's customers. 
  •   Google's real definition for 'open' is 'Google-favored.'


When it comes to openness and privacy, Google certainly does not lead by example.

Google parks its new jet fighter at NASA -- Why the deal may fleece the taxpayer

Hello? Is anyone with formal NASA oversight responsibilities looking out for the taxpayer? 

·    The New York Times Bits blog reported that Google executives added a fighter jet to "their growing fleet of private airplanes" which uniquely enjoy private landing/parking rights at NASA's Moffet airfield, a couple of miles from Google's headquarters -- an exceptional corporate perk by any measure.

Only Google's competitors need be 'open' -- per Google and its supporters

Google and its minions expect all of Google's competitors to be 'open' -- but not Google. 

  • If openness and net neutrality are such important principles, why doesn't Google abide by them?
  • And why don't Google's net neutrality allies insist that their leader, Google, lead by example, and not tarnish them with an obvious double standard? 

Consider the following troubling and mounting evidence that Google itself is becoming the anti-competitive threat that they claim all their big competitors are.

Google's G1-phone (Android): Per CNET's review of the G1-phone, "There's no option to change the search box to use search from Microsoft or Yahoo." How is that open or neutral? Especially given Google's unquestioned dominance of search?

  • Remember Google has 70% share of search queries per Hitwise, and now produces 95% of all Internet advertising profits in the US.
  • Also remember the FCC's net neutrality principles clearly apply to Google: "...consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers and content providers."

Google's Chrome Browser: Google's new Chrome browser has an "omnibox" which bundles Google's dominant search business with the address bar.

"Keep the Internet Free" is a great op-ed in WSJ

Opponents of net neutrality should not miss an excellent op-ed opposing net neutrality in Europe, in the Wall Street Journal by Mr. Andrea Renda of the Center for European Policy Studies.

  • Mr. Renda's conclusion is spot on:
    • "...pre-emptive net neutrality regulation amounts to an effort to ban the advance and evolution of a market for fear of future anticompetitive behavior. Since its birth the Internet has been a vibrant source of innovation precisely because of the absence of prescriptive regulation. Now would be the wrong time to change that."

My TV interview on Google-Yahoo on First Business

First Business conducted an excellent four minute interview on the Google-Yahoo deal where the anchor of First Business, Tom Hudson asked me to respond to Google and Yahoo's main defenses of the deal. The link to the interview is here.

Why Google wins from Google-Yahoo postponements -- lessons from Machiavelli

Famed philosopher of power, Nicocolo Machiavelli, would have to smile at Google's maestro market power performance in the storied Google-Yahoo affair.

  • As Machiavelli would have advised, Google is laser focused on enhancing its market power.
  • Let's review this modern-day Machiavellian plot.  

First, Google successfully thwarted what it recognized as the single most serious potential competitive threat to Google -- a Microsoft-Yahoo merger or search alliance.

  • From the start, Google publicly made clear that it was opposed to a Microsoft-Yahoo combination and bent on stopping it. 

Second, given the deep ties between Google and Yahoo's founders -- Google understood Yahoo's founders were emotionally, philosophically, and culturally opposed to aligning with Microsoft.