Linked by David Adams on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:19 UTC
Google My colleague Thom wrote an excellent evaluation of the European antitrust investigation of Google yesterday. I agree with much of what Thom says in his article, including the statements that the investigation isn't surprising and that it's fishy that the complaining companies have ties to Microsoft. What I don't agree with is the offhanded comment that Google has "pretty much a monopoly in search." There was a lively discussion on this point in the comments, but I thought that rather than join the fray there, I'd exercise my monopoly power and put my thoughts into an editorial.
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by Hiev on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:34 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Yes it does, but it won't last forever.

Google know that users are changing theirs habits and search engines are being using less, in the contrary, social networks are on the raise.

They are desesperadly trying to find the next couch cow, phones, social networks, internet providers, they are after anything they can get.

Edited 2010-02-25 04:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: ...
by darknexus on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:03 UTC in reply to "..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I don't see the connection between social networking and search engines. Both are different and serve very different purposes.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:23 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

ah, Google's bussiness is on ads, search engines gives you a clue of users habit, but social networks are the gold mine for that, more information exposed, more accurate adds, etc.

Just to give you a hint, type "Fake food" on google and compare the results with this search in Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fake-Food/98158266453

What resuls look more appealing? The results powered by social media is more ritch, accurated and appealing.

Edited 2010-02-25 05:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ...
by FooBarWidget on Thu 25th Feb 2010 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

That really depends on what you're looking for. Type "World War 2" in Google and then in Facebook. The only good results on Facebook are powered by Bing.

Reply Score: 4

Disagree
by Delgarde on Thu 25th Feb 2010 04:47 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

I really have to disagree with this article - Google *is* a monopoly, or near enough to it.

We saw that in the Facebook login debacle - with a minor change in their indexes, they've unintentionally prevented large numbers of people from accessing the Facebook site. If they blacklist a company from their index for trying to game the system, that company is effectively removed from the internet - their site might as well not exist, if nobody can find it. Google have immense power over what people see on the net.

And consider a possibility - someone develops a new search engine, that works better than Google. How easily would people find out about it, if Google were willing to abuse that power? Sure, they couldn't suppress it completely, but they could certainly make it hard to find, ensure good reviews don't appear too prominently in search results.

Not saying they'd do it, but I'd certainly dispute that they don't wield monopoly powers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disagree
by MamiyaOtaru on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:11 UTC in reply to "Disagree"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

I really have to disagree with this article - Google *is* a monopoly, or near enough to it.

We saw that in the Facebook login debacle - with a minor change in their indexes, they've unintentionally prevented large numbers of people from accessing the Facebook site.

They "unintentionally prevented" some google users from accessing Facebook. Bing could have done the same thing, and prevented some Bing users from accessing it. All that whole sorry episode proves (in the context of this thread) is that some people use Google. It in no way proves that everyone does (or must)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Disagree
by Delgarde on Thu 25th Feb 2010 20:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Disagree"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

They "unintentionally prevented" some google users from accessing Facebook. Bing could have done the same thing, and prevented some Bing users from accessing it.


They could have. But would anyone really have noticed? Bing may compete with Google, but they're not exactly in the same league in terms of number of users. I don't personally know of anyone who uses Bing, and suspect that most non-technical acquaintances probably haven't even heard of it. Google is a household name, Bing is nothing.

Reply Score: 2

Please research your articles....
by google_ninja on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:13 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

In economics, a monopoly (from Greek monos / μονος (alone or single) + polein / πωλειν (to sell)) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it.[1][clarification needed] Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.[2] The verb "monopolize" refers to the process by which a firm gains persistently greater market share than what is expected under perfect competition.
....
In many jurisdictions, competition laws place specific restrictions on monopolies. Holding a dominant position or a monopoly in the market is not illegal in itself, however certain categories of behavior can, when a business is dominant, be considered abusive and therefore be met with legal sanctions.


A corporation under monopoly status has additional restriction placed on them, generally it makes doing anything anti-competitive illegal. If you invent the best icecream ever and dominate the market, you do have a monopoly, and it is not illegal.

You can say that google hasn't violated their corporate trust yet, but when any search rating other then googles is irrelivent, it is really hard to argue that google is not a monopoly.

Reply Score: 2

Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

You quoted the definition but I must disagree with you about your interpretation; Google has a monopoly on their own search engine but certainly not search in general, and never will. This depends on how you define search as a resource and your power to make it limited (in the sense that others cannot offer a similar resource), and unless you get very specific, Google cannot be a monopoly here...

Edited 2010-02-25 05:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Key point
by strcpy on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:31 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

All economic jargon (monopoly or not; who cares about the actual word) aside, I think you captured the key point with this one:


Google, due to its power in the market, has taken to throwing its weight around in order to enter new market segments. It has offered services for free that other companies charged money for, putting them out of business.


In another words, I think the investigation is more about that good old "bundling"; (ab)using dominant position in one market segment to gain shares in other segments. Just like one or two unnamed IT companies before it (although everyone refused to consider this viewpoint earlier).

Search, operating systems, DNS, street maps, phones, e-mail, netbooks... Rule one to rule them all. You get the picture.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Key point
by pompous stranger on Thu 25th Feb 2010 06:28 UTC in reply to "Key point"
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

I don't think "bundling" applies here because using Google does not automatically provide you with, say, a Google Voice invite or Gmail account.

Using Windows automatically provided the user with a copy of Internet Explorer. Google doesn't even push the Gmail service like Microsoft encourages the Live/Hotmail account, from what I remember about fresh XP/Vista installs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Key point
by fatjoe on Thu 25th Feb 2010 09:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Key point"
fatjoe Member since:
2010-01-12

android/chrome/chrome OS??

default search/gmail/google maps/google calendar/google docs?


hellllooooo???

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Key point
by pompous stranger on Thu 25th Feb 2010 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Key point"
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

Android's current marketshare is 5.2%.

And hi.

Reply Score: 1

Um, no, your theses are simply incorrect...
by tomcat on Thu 25th Feb 2010 05:57 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Your main point is that, since everyone is free to access any website they want, then no one is constrained to use Google; therefore, no monopoly exists. Which is nonsense. Monopolies have more to do with barriers to entry than access to customers. I can put up my own search engine tomorrow. Everyone can access it. But there are IMMENSE barriers to entry for any other competitor in the market. Even the biggest challengers (Microsoft and Yahoo) have spent billions of dollars to build market share, and they're still light-years behind Google. Furthermore, a lot of Google's market share (and revenue) are driven by affiliate programs; essentially, partners who put search boxes on their websites. In effect, Google is using those partners to "lock-in" to the market. Once Google became the dominant search engine, it used its market position to keep the partners pointing at Google. Then, there are exclusive contracts with mobile carriers (like Apple), and applications (Mozilla). And let's not forget how Google is paying PC OEMs to bundle Google desktop, in order to ensure that Google is the default search option. Customers more often than not have no idea how to choose an alternative default search engine. Competitors don't have a chance.

What's worse is that Google is using its monopoly in search to move into other markets. It gives preference to its own products, services, and investments in page rankings. It boosts the page ranking of paid advertisers. It's difficult, if not impossible, for customers to ascertain whether they are getting objective results from their queries, because Google has gamed what they're seeing.

Eventually, the US government and the EU will declare Google a monopoly, and Google will be constrained from operating in this manner. But the wheels of justice grind slowly, and Google (like Microsoft before it) will use money and influence to try to stave off regulatory scrutiny. But it will ultimately fail to do so, because regulators are already starting to sense that Google is gaining too much power over the information that we consume, how we consume it, and how it's controlled. Regulatory action will be slow, but it will happen. We will probably have a ballot for search engines, in addition to web browsers. It's just a question of time.

Edited 2010-02-25 06:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

pg--az Member since:
2006-03-15

Just as Eskimos have many words for snow, in our hi-tech world we need better terms for variations on the theme of Monopoly. According to dim memory Nobelist Kenneth Arrow played a key role in shaping the US government's lack of aggression towards Microsoft - along with Brian Arthur his take was that there's so much "Network Externality" in the business that Monopoly is inevitable, get over it. But we are still at the dawn of comprehension of such things, as demonstrated by the fact that "Price Match Guarantee" is still legal, for retailers selling Ice Cream and other things.
Imagine that you are selling say 100 different items at your chain store, with every item marked up unfairly because you're a Monopoly-Chain-Store. What form might competition take ? Obviously Mom and Pop could open a store, they could afford to stock say the 1 or 2 items which they think your Monopoly is most gougy about. Enter the "Price Match Guarantee" - Mom and Pop are DETERRED from even thinking about opening their store, because you're just going to clip their ad and bring it with your while shopping among the hundreds of other items, demanding the price-match thanks to Mom and Pop, but Mom and Pop don't make a dime. So as long as it is legal for chain stores to offer "Price Match Guarantee", we can think or ourselves as being in the Dark Ages before even the most rudimentary of enlightenments regarding Monopoly.

Reply Score: 1

Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

You're looking at it from the perspective of a producer rather than a consumer; from a consumer's perspective, there is no monopoly on general web search. I admit Google probably has the best search engine, but I don't know much about it. If you want a search engine that does x,y, and z and google is the only one that has these features, then google has a monopoly on this service.

If you want an OS that runs all Desktop programs well (most of the time) and works very well with most consumer hardware then Microsoft pretty much has a monopoly on desktop operating systems. For the consumer here, there is no choice. You may contend that a consumer doesn't know how to get to yahoo.com vs. google.com, but this is obviously a little extreme; expecting everyone to use an alternative OS for a desktop is a different story.

If you are Standard Oil or Bell Telephone from the distant past and you own all oil fields or telephone lines respectively, then you're a monopoly: the consumer literally doesn't have an alternative. To say the same for general web search is preposterous.

Edited 2010-02-25 22:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Wow, Google sure is following in MS' footsteps.

Reply Score: 2

Monopoly has many definitions
by malxau on Thu 25th Feb 2010 06:04 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

While I tend to agree with David's views on the meaning of "monopoly", that is not the meaning applied by European regulators. In Europe, monopoly is about market share.

After all, web browsers are substantially interchangeable and are frequently interchanged, but that did not prevent Europe from creating a ballot scheme based on the finding of a monopoly. A ballot scheme would not work in a market where only one viable supplier exists.

I'd also note that I spent years using Linux exclusively, and realized in the process that Windows does not have a real monopoly. Its only monopoly is perceived. Strangely, Apple can charge a premium for products that make a point of not using Windows, which runs counter to most market definitions of monopoly.

It's certainly true that search engines are interchangeable, but so are web browsers, and so are operating systems (at least for many of us.) In Europe, this is not sufficient to avoid monopoly status.

Reply Score: 3

Podcast! Podcast! Podcast!
by AaronD on Thu 25th Feb 2010 06:17 UTC
AaronD
Member since:
2009-08-19

This is a debate worthy of a podcast, I think. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Podcast! Podcast! Podcast!
by Tuishimi on Fri 26th Feb 2010 00:36 UTC in reply to "Podcast! Podcast! Podcast!"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Podcast shmodcast. I want to see them both in a ring, extreme fighting!

Reply Score: 3

Article is correct
by DoctorD on Thu 25th Feb 2010 08:10 UTC
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

Article is spot on. And thats the sort of thing I don't say often.

Google is undoubtably successful; that alone rubs some people the wrong way. Fair enough, but don't make the mistake of thinking that simply because something is popular, in any degree, it therefore must be anti-competetive. Google's services are merit based. They do not back the market into a corner and they do they don't make it harder to use any other search service. Hell, their very own internally developed web browser, chrome, doesn't lock you into their search service. You can change the default without hardly even looking. The only real way, matter of fact, that they would make it even easier is if they inundated everyone with pop ups repeatedly asking if they wanted want to keep using google as their search engine. They don't interfere with any other search engine's methodology. They don't leverage their own services in manipulative "all or nothing" bundling schemes. Video searches aren't partial to youtube. They don't punish you in any way for fiddling with any other competitor's product.

Every time you go to google or use a google product, you're free then and there to use it or not, of your own free will. If you decide to go another route, it's a piece of cake and there's nothing standing in your way.

Reply Score: 3

Disagree
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 25th Feb 2010 09:01 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I obviously disagree with this.

Having 60%+ marketshare in and of itself is already a barrier to entry, but it's only made worse by the incredible mindshare Google has built up, which affects ordinary customers like us, but also companies listed in Google's search results.

People seem to have this idea that barriers to entry need to be of an artificial or illegal nature before something can be called a monopoly. This idea is wrong: even perfectly legal barriers to entry, such as the technical superiority Google undoubtedly has over its competitors, is a barrier to entry. The mindshare among people is a barrier to entry. The sheer imposing popularity of Google is a barrier to entry.

Then there's the Microsoft thing. People seem to think that in order to be a monopoly, you have to be doing something illegal first - or that a monopoly in and of itself is illegal.

Both ideas are wrong. You do not have to be doing something illegal to be branded as a monopoly; if you were, then in the US, Microsoft is not a monopoly since they have never been convicted of monopoly abuse (and you're innocent until proven otherwise). I highly doubt anyone would, despite this fact, argue that Microsoft is not a monopoly in the US.

And, as said, a monopoly in and of itself is not illegal in any way. It's just that when you are a monopoly, you have to play by different rules. That's why Microsoft must ship browser ballots (but Apple does not). It's why they may not offer incentives to OEMs (but others may do so).

Huge majority marketshare? Check. Barriers to entry? Check. Yup, sounds like a monopoly to me.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disagree
by ahmetaa on Thu 25th Feb 2010 09:59 UTC in reply to "Disagree"
ahmetaa Member since:
2005-07-06

I obviously disagree with this.


... This idea is wrong: even perfectly legal barriers to entry, such as the technical superiority Google undoubtedly has over its competitors, is a barrier to entry. The mindshare among people is a barrier to entry. The sheer imposing popularity of Google is a barrier to entry.
.....

Huge majority marketshare? Check. Barriers to entry? Check. Yup, sounds like a monopoly to me.


So you are saying "you are technologically advanced so your products are better, therefore you are a monopoly". i disagree with you because it is nonsense.

But What happened to MS about IE was also wrong. MS should have been punished because they delibreately abused their marketshare by making web software works only in their browser-OS, not because you cannot uninstall the browser form the OS.

Edited 2010-02-25 10:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Disagree
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 25th Feb 2010 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Disagree"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So you are saying "you are technologically advanced your so products are better, therefore you are a monopoly". i disagree with you because it is nonsense.


It indeed is. I'm a little perplexed how you managed to get there from my comment.

I'm saying that in order to be a monopoly, you need to have a significant share of the market, and there need to be significant barriers to entry for other players. What I tried to explain was that barriers to entry need not be artificial or illegal.

That's all.

MS should have been punished because they delibreately abused their marketshare by making web software works only in their browser-OS, not because you cannot uninstall the browser form the OS.


Uhm, in the end, it were the web developers who coded for IE6 alone. Microsoft sure played a part in that, but the developers carry most of the blame for not writing proper, browser-independent code.

Edited 2010-02-25 10:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Disagree
by ahmetaa on Thu 25th Feb 2010 10:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Disagree"
ahmetaa Member since:
2005-07-06


It indeed is. I'm a little perplexed how you managed to get there from my comment.

I'm saying that in order to be a monopoly, you need to have a significant share of the market, and there need to be significant barriers to entry for other players. What I tried to explain was that barriers to entry need not be artificial or illegal.

That's all.

Uhm, in the end, it were the web developers who coded for IE6 alone. Microsoft sure played a part in that, but the developers carry most of the blame for not writing proper, browser-independent code.


Becaue google's case is about technology. There indeed is a barrier but it is not as steep to be considered as a monopolistic item. Google's technologies for search such as infrastructure and algorithms are better. But it has not stopped others to enter the market. There is no monopolistic behavior either. There are valid alternatives for search easily accessible. Sure if you want to enter search market using a server in your backyard, you can cry all day for monopolies and the barriesrs.

For the IE subject, Do not blame the developers. MS wanted this, did this deliberately, as they tried the same for other things. (Java etc).

http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f1700/1762.htm#8

Edited 2010-02-25 10:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Disagree
by NeoX on Thu 25th Feb 2010 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Disagree"
NeoX Member since:
2006-02-19


Uhm, in the end, it were the web developers who coded for IE6 alone. Microsoft sure played a part in that, but the developers carry most of the blame for not writing proper, browser-independent code.


Exactly right. The web developers made a choice to limit their sites to IE6. You cannot blame MS for this as there were alternative browsers when IE6 was released. And still to this day many corporations require IE6 on the desktop to work with their web apps. None if this had to work this way it could have all been coded with web standards and zero ActiveX controls, at least in most cases.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Disagree
by bile on Thu 25th Feb 2010 20:50 UTC in reply to "Disagree"
bile Member since:
2005-07-08

Huge majority marketshare? Check. Barriers to entry? Check. Yup, sounds like a monopoly to me.


Mono, one. Google is in no way a monopoly in their field. There are plenty of competitors.

Your description of barriers to entry are so vague as to be completely meaningless as it covers everything. Having to compete is not a barrier to entry. Having to find customers and advertise is not a barrier to entry. Outside government interventions anyone can enter... but success is found by providing the service that people want. If you can't break in... you obviously weren't providing a good enough service. Google utilizing their success as a means to enter other fields is a *good* thing. They build up capital because they are successful at giving customers what they desire.

Monopolies don't exist outside government intervention and aggregation of market share results from the same. Competition keeps only those who provide the best products in business. It's government not Google who raise barriers. Get rid of the FCC and allow wireless competition. Get rid of municipal monopolies on phone and cable.

Stop utilizing government to limit competition and you won't get artificial monopolies. It's the economically ignorant who always seem to advocate the very things that cause the things they wish to prevent.

Reply Score: 1

illegality is related to monopoly status
by MollyC on Sun 28th Feb 2010 20:22 UTC in reply to "Disagree"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

It is indeed false that you need not commit illegality in order to be declared a monopoly. But the reverse is actually true. You have to be declared a "monopoly" in order for particular actions you've taken to then be declared illegal. As long as you're not officialy declared a "monopoly", you can do whatever you want (not literally "whatever you want", but you can't be delcared to have violated civil antitrust law). But once you've been declared a monopoly, retroactively from a particular date in the past, then particular actions taken since that date, that were Kosher at the time, suddenly become past "illegal" actions, worthy of punishment.

I never liked the retroactiveness. I think a company should first be declared to hold monopoly status in a particular market, and then actions taken from then on can come under scrutiny for antitrust violations. It is unfair that government can declare that a company has had a monopoly for the last N years, so actions taken during that time period are eligible for punishment. It leads to a company second guessing itself with every move it makes, for fear that at some time in the future, government might declare that the company held a monopoly at some time in the past. You don't know at any particular time whether an action you take is illegal or not, since you don't know if you'll ever be declared in the future to have a monopoly today. The unfairness is quite apparent. Fortunately retroactive declarations of guilt aren't allowed in criminal law, only civil law (at least in the US). Allowing retroactive judgements in criminal law would be a total nightmare.

Edited 2010-02-28 20:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

brand equity
by ahmetaa on Thu 25th Feb 2010 09:38 UTC
ahmetaa
Member since:
2005-07-06

People saying "No, Google is a monoploy" are not really providing any proof, just thir subjective opinion. Google is good at search. And they were the first "good" search engine. So, just like "velcro" or "pampers", they have the brand equity on search. Nobody really is forced to use it, and you have the access to use another search brand easily. They also do not make any bad publicity or comment on other brands.

Reply Score: 3

Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

The reality of search is that the bigger you are, the bigger you can get. Advertisers and companies want to reach the maximum number of people. They will go where most people are searching from.

So that can be a kind of monopoly imposing a barrier to entry.

That said... so what. Let us assume for a minute that Google is in fact a monopoly. What is the resolution going to be? Force Live/Yahoo to have x percent marketshare? Force Google to decouple its services from Android? I don't see any reason to restrict Google's market share just on the basis of market share.

If Google abuses its market share then we can take action.

1. If they price themselves too high, there are still competitors willing to take up the battle.
2. If they start manipulating search results for the benefit of their services, then that can be looked into.
...

Reply Score: 2

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I think that's the point. Monopolies themselves aren't bad things. But if they start to abuse the system then they do lots of damage. By claiming google to be "monopoly" I think that gives governments a green light to more strictly oversee a company's actions.

Under normal market conditions a company that behaves badly will lose their customers to their competitors. The problem is if there aren't any competitors, or competitors of any note.

Reply Score: 2

hmmm
by poundsmack on Thu 25th Feb 2010 16:48 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

"No matter how much better Google's search is, or how much more popular it is, those facts alone will never make it a monopoly."

Google positions it self in emerging tech areas and if it likes how they are going it buys them, or creates the same thing only from google. how many ideas have other companies done that google coppied right after? Google takes what it wants and positions itself to be able to, weather it chooses to or not, take on a new or young sector and dominate it. Now thats not illigal, infact its a great bussiness move (and above all else, google is a business), but other start ups, governments, and anti trust agencies frown upon it when you start brancing into other market segments. This is something google is doing on a level Microsoft never dreamed of (or at least attempted).

Google is like putting a creep collony in the center of your enemies bases and watching as your tarren opponets are unable to build around it...

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

A monopoly is not due to the absence of competition but the percentage of a market the company holds. I'd like to guess it's 90% or greater but don't know exactly.

Even then, being in monopoly position is not bad in and of itself. The problem is using that weight within the market to crush competition there and in other related markets.

For example, MS problem was not that it had monopoly position but that it used that dominance in the OS market to push a bundled browser to crush competition. Had IE done so based on it's own merits rather than riding the monopoly possition of the Windows OS product then no biggy. Again, using anti-competitive backroom deals rather than the quality of the OS to crush competition and maintain market share was a problem rather than simply being the majority share holder.

Now, with Google the question is if they hold the monopoly percentage of the search market and if they are using that position to block competition that would otherwise deliver a better product or a more healthy long term market. In terms of mindshare (to use a buzword that makes me itch), Google is monopoly but this doesn't equate to actual usage among consumers. If they are a monopoly within the search market, are they using that to unfairly advance other products? Are they a monopoly in the online advertising space and if so, are they abusing that success to the detriment of consumer and the market itself?

Reply Score: 2

Thanks.
by Lava_Croft on Thu 25th Feb 2010 18:41 UTC
Lava_Croft
Member since:
2006-12-24

Thank you for a fresh look on a tired subject.

Reply Score: 1

PageRank monopoly
by flypig on Thu 25th Feb 2010 19:39 UTC
flypig
Member since:
2005-07-13

Really interesting article, and nice to see monopoly not just defined as having more than x% market share.

However, as far as I can tell Google is a monopoly at least in some areas; it just depends on what you're looking at. For example, as far as I'm aware Google has exclusive rights to use the patented PageRank algorithm. By law, as I understand it, this patent grants a state-enforced monopoly, at least in this very narrow area.

Hypothetically supposing PageRank is the best search ranking algorithm possible, then this also presumably constitutes a significant barrier to entry for other providers?

Reply Score: 1

Free Market
by Rockinelle on Thu 25th Feb 2010 20:20 UTC
Rockinelle
Member since:
2010-02-25

I have a problem labeling Google a monopoly simply because they have market dominance. The free market gave them that dominance. Many here have said that they're okay because they haven't abused their power yet. They don't have the freedom to abuse the power because if they did the market would punish them. I would no longer use Google if I knew their search results were biased. I would switch. That's how the free market works. As long as Google makes a superior product they are out completing their competitors.

It's not impossible for someone else to come along and invent a better search engine. If it were done, people would use it. Look at Facebook stealing the crown from Myspace. Google is great at making products that people want. Google doesn't have a monopoly on creating good ideas and implementing them. If Google had a real monopoly, like Debeers has on diamonds, it wouldn't matter if their products were better or worse, cheap or expensive. We wouldn't have a choice to switch.

Reply Score: 1

Thank you for the nice unbiased article.
by jboss1995 on Thu 25th Feb 2010 20:26 UTC
jboss1995
Member since:
2007-05-02

This was a good read and good understanding of what a monopoly is. Thom Holwerda seams to support Microsoft and attack anything and anyone who does not. And he clearly does not understand what a monopoly is or is attacking Google because they are not Microsoft.

Reply Score: 0

barriers to entry?
by TechGeek on Thu 25th Feb 2010 21:09 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I dont quite get where you think there are barriers to entry. Google started out on a couple of crap computers. Anyone could start doing what they did. Google was a better search engine BEFORE they started selling ads. Long before they ever advertised, people were using Google due to word of mouth advertising. Especially around college campuses. You can't really say that you couldn't start indexing the world today if you wanted.

Reply Score: 2

Almost
by Bounty on Thu 25th Feb 2010 21:57 UTC
Bounty
Member since:
2006-09-18

If MS is a monopoly, Google almost is. You can think of Yahoo as Netscape if you want. Honestly I don't know why people are holding MS/Google to the same standards as Ma bell etc. Back then you literally coulnd't pull another wire to someone's house and connect them to other telephone users. With software, you have linux distros springing out w/o distress or excessive barriers. I'm certain that if and when an OS comes out that is compelling it will eat into that marketshare.

Take OSX, for example. If it wasn't tied to Apple hardware and had driver support (motherboards, etc) like Windows has, I'm certain it would blow a giant hole in MS marketshare. Throw in some trendy commercials at it etc, it would spread like wildfire. I think you would have trouble arguing that Apple wouldn't make massive gains.

Along the same lines, if someone developed Linux to the point of being as good as OSX or Windows for the general public's desktop, at free as in beer prices, it would quickly drive MS into a niche.

MS pwns the market because it's good enough and cheap enough. There is nothing stopping Apple or other developers from making something better at reasonable prices. Same for search engines. Real (non-European) monopolies generally are caused by physical resources or laws.

Reply Score: 2

No way...
by Phloptical on Fri 26th Feb 2010 00:49 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

There's no way google is a monopoly on search. There's other search engines, but google still wins that war, hands down.

It's a ridiculous statement, and does nothing but rile up the uninformed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No way...
by aliquis on Fri 26th Feb 2010 01:03 UTC in reply to "No way..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Yeah, anything which wins, is the best choice or the most popular must be wrong!

We only want mediocre products with mediocre results and mediocre market share!

Reply Score: 2

But then...
by aliquis on Fri 26th Feb 2010 01:02 UTC
aliquis
Member since:
2005-07-23

... Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on operating systems, operating systems on x86, word processors, Internet browsers or media players and that didn't stopped them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: But then...
by ichi on Fri 26th Feb 2010 09:56 UTC in reply to "But then..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Because it's about whether they are abusing their position on the market or not, and not about being nitpicky about the "monopoly" term.

From a legal standpoint being a monopoly is not illegal, and abusing your dominance gets the same treatment no matter if you have an actual monopoly or just market dominance.
Whenever someone talks about MS as a "convicted monopoly" they are talking about the conviction based on the abuse exerted. Whether it's an actual monopoly or not is largely irrelevant.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: But then...
by Bounty on Fri 26th Feb 2010 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE: But then..."
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

Because it's about whether they are abusing their position on the market or not, and not about being nitpicky about the "monopoly" term. From a legal standpoint being a monopoly is not illegal, and abusing your dominance gets the same treatment no matter if you have an actual monopoly or just market dominance. Whenever someone talks about MS as a "convicted monopoly" they are talking about the conviction based on the abuse exerted. Whether it's an actual monopoly or not is largely irrelevant.


If they "abuse" their customers but are not a monopoly then the customers can just go somewhere else? What needs fixing?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: But then...
by ichi on Fri 26th Feb 2010 21:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: But then..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

If they "abuse" their customers but are not a monopoly then the customers can just go somewhere else? What needs fixing?


The point of abusing your dominance is keeping your position in the market through muscle and not quality of products or services, making it harder for customers to go anywhere else (like Intel and their deals with retailers).

It's about leveling the field for all the players in the market.

Reply Score: 2

There are none.
by solarcontrol on Fri 26th Feb 2010 14:00 UTC
solarcontrol
Member since:
2008-11-17

These monopolies are only perceived monopolies - usually in the minds of the envious and/or ignorant.

This blogger correctly states that govt's job is to police the private sector and prevent them whenever possible - or regulate them when it's not possible - as in the case of infrastructure utilities - so far (a problem that I think advances in tech will eventually remove).
It is when the govt is corrupt and either allows or enables monopolistic abuse that it becomes real.

Reply Score: 1

Not what it does but what it is
by pfortuny on Fri 26th Feb 2010 16:46 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

A monopoly is independent of its actions, it is only something large enough to take a significative portion of the market.

Otherwise monopolies would be unidentifiable.

Reply Score: 1

IIWmaster
Member since:
2010-02-27

Have you heard about Real-time Fishing LBS Contents? We have proposed this Service Model to Google over 4 years ago. Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is Location Based Service for IPTV, WiMAX, Mobile. This Service Model was created in 2002 by I&IWorld. I&IWorld's located in South Korea. As you know, there're many people enjoy fishing in the world(about 5 hundred million). I&IWorld's Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is like these.

*Main Functions*
1.The underwater topography and 3D views with fishing spots
2.Real-time fishing points tracing by GPS and angling direction guide
3.Service the real-time fishing condition about fishing place(weather, water temp, depth etc)
4.Angler Social network(such as Second Life)

Everyone knows that Google motto is, 'Don't be evil.' Is it all right? Visit http://www.koreacontent.org/weben/index.jsp, and type 'Real-time Fishing LBS Contents'. Search http://www.koreacontent.org/co/i/iiworld/index.html. If you need more information, please send your email address.

Reply Score: 1