You are here

Is Google's PR operation pulling a China in Japan?

Google again seems to be presumptuously trying to make official announcements for sovereign governments.

  • In announcing for the Japanese antitrust authority, that the Government of Japan has approved Google's proposed monopolization of search advertising in Japan (by allowing Yahoo-Japan to outsource its search advertising engine and platform to Google), Google appears to be once again imperiously trying to dictate outcomes to sovereign governments in advance and in public.
  • Just like Google tried and failed to dictate outcomes to China over the first six months of this year, it appears that Google has learned nothing about "face" and due respect from its China fiasco and is once again treating a sovereign nation, Japan, as someone that works for Google.   

Doesn't Google's announcement strike anyone else as over-the-top presumptuous?

  • First, isn't it Japan's role/right to announce its own official decisions?
  • Second, doesn't Google have an obvious conflict of interest here in announcing the supposed official decision of the Japanese Government -- all by itself with nothing in writing to back it up?  
  • Third, why would an antitrust authority of the country with the third largest number of searches in the world, not want any public comment or any input from competitors on a proposed agreement between the #1 Japan competitor, Yahoo-Japan with ~50% share, and the #2 search advertising competitor, Google with ~40% share, that would effectively turn fierce duopoly competitors into monopoly collaborators?
  • Fourth, why have an antitrust process at all, if actions like this that cause fast and extreme concentration in a critical hub market for competition in so many other markets -- does not even provide opportunity for public comment or scrutiny? 
  • Finally, how is it good for Japanese consumers to have no competition for search results? Are Japanese antitrust authorities saying that it is good for competition and consumers to basically have one and only one company, an American one, determining what information gets found online in Japan, and which online publishers win and lose in the Japanese marketplace?    

In short, it seems like Google has forgotten that the Japanese Government and the antitrust authority does not work for Google, but for the Japanese people.

  • It just doesn't make any sense that the Japanese antitrust authorities would not want to at least investigate and collect information from competitors, experts and the public about an agreement that was very similar to the Google-Yahoo ad agreement that the U.S. DOJ blocked in 2008.
  • In a word, Google's characterization of the Japanese process sounds awfully fishy, especially after Google's many China public announcements this last year proved to be misleading when all the information eventually came out.