Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Jul 2011 21:38 UTC
Google So, Google has come under scrutiny by the US Federal Trade Commission for possible anti-competitive practices. While I would say the FTC has far larger threats to competition to worry about (the inevitable p-word), it would appear there's sufficient suspicion to take a gander at Google's business practices.
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v The right track
by WorknMan on Mon 18th Jul 2011 22:12 UTC
RE: The right track
by clhodapp on Mon 18th Jul 2011 22:22 UTC in reply to "The right track"
clhodapp Member since:
2009-12-04

Somehow though, that situation managed to sort itself out, and required absolutely no help from the government ...

This is completely false: Microsoft has been subject to heavy oversight as part of the settlement in the Microsoft anti-trust case. That oversight is still ongoing and is just now finally coming to lift.

Edited 2011-07-18 22:23 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: The right track
by orestes on Mon 18th Jul 2011 22:33 UTC in reply to "The right track"
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

Nice in theory, but we all know the "market" tends to consist of short-sighted, brain dead sheep who value convenience over long term consequences

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: The right track
by WorknMan on Tue 19th Jul 2011 00:20 UTC in reply to "RE: The right track"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Nice in theory, but we all know the "market" tends to consist of short-sighted, brain dead sheep who value convenience over long term consequences


LOL, right... people are too stupid to think for themselves, so we should give control over to the all-knowing, all-powerful government. Afterall, the folks who work in government are smarter than we are, and would NEVER do anything corrupt ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: The right track
by orestes on Tue 19th Jul 2011 00:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh the government's inept too. Just look at the Microsoft Farce here and in Europe. Point was, how things *should* work and reality are two different animals.

Me, I control what I can, and keep an umbrella handy and try to doge the flying fecal matter as it all goes to hell.

Edited 2011-07-19 00:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: The right track
by vitae on Tue 19th Jul 2011 07:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
vitae Member since:
2006-02-20

Well if you're suggesting "let the market decide", we let Wall Street do that, they sank our whole economy and needed to be bailed out by the taxpayer. And these people are supposed to be financial geniuses.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: The right track
by rbenchley on Tue 19th Jul 2011 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The right track"
rbenchley Member since:
2005-11-03

Well if you're suggesting "let the market decide", we let Wall Street do that, they sank our whole economy and needed to be bailed out by the taxpayer. And these people are supposed to be financial geniuses.

We didn't let the market decide. The financial firms got themselves in hot water and they were bailed out with TARP. If we had truly let the market decide, we would have let more of those companies die because they overextended themselves and couldn't afford to pay for their foolishness and greed. It might have been more unpleasant in the short term, but it probably would have encouraged the financial sector to be more prudent in the long term. As vile as a lot of these companies are, to a certain extent I don't blame them. They took outrageous chances because there were minimal consequences if they bet wrong.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The right track
by vitae on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
vitae Member since:
2006-02-20

True enough. But could we not also say that we let the market decide until it proved it couldn't decide wisely, and THEN we decided for it? I mean, the government did wait until the last minute to intervene, and before that they had pretty much free run.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: The right track
by JAlexoid on Tue 19th Jul 2011 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

If we had truly let the market decide, we would have let more of those companies die because they overextended themselves and couldn't afford to pay for their foolishness and greed. It might have been more unpleasant in the short term, but it probably would have encouraged the financial sector to be more prudent in the long term.


Does US guarantee any amount of $$$ be returned to an owner of a bank account if the bank fails?

I would agree with you on that point, however:
- Had the banks sunk all the money in the accounts would have been literally gone. And people with accounts would be last in line to the looting.
- As a result of all money disappearing what would most companies pay salaries, taxes and rents with.
- The traditional banks will gamble with your money. There is literally nothing you can do about it, since there are no cash holding banks out there.
- No matter which of the Too Big To Fail institutions would have failed, you* personally would have felt the shock-wave.

And in accordance to natural laws of capitalism - gaining Too Big To Fail status is a goal as it results in higher profits.
BTW: Sweden made a better strategy to handling such situations with Nordea.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: The right track
by bassbeast on Tue 19th Jul 2011 12:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

But frankly often thanks to behind the scenes maneuvers it doesn't matter what the people think as they will be led by the nose or even have their choices taken away from them. Why do you think Intel ruled during the P4 era, even though it was a giant piece of shite? Simple it was because behind the scenes they rigged the compiler and bribed the OEMs which neither AMD nor Via has ever recovered from, with AMD ending up so broke they had to sell their fabs.

Now with a company the size of Google frankly there is no telling what is going on behind the scenes and I'd say Google is about as close to an actual monopoly as a web company can get and are now trying some of the same tricks as the old MSFT (MS Java VS Devalik, in both cases making an incompatible Java VM and using their place in the market to take control of Java away from the parent company) and with the amount of control and data they have maybe an investigation is in order.

After all better to do so now than wait until after they have killed the competition like MSFT did with so many companies in the 90s. But if they are using their position in search to steer folks away from competitors and towards their own offerings? Then I'm sorry but they should be busted.

But of course I thought MSFT should have been broken up and Intel should have gotten slammed by antitrust and instead they simply crippled Windows by keeping MSFT from bundling common sense things like an AV and Intel made out like bandits from owning the market with kickbacks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The right track
by JAlexoid on Tue 19th Jul 2011 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The right track"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

(MS Java VS Devalik, in both cases making an incompatible Java VM and using their place in the market to take control of Java away from the parent company)


However, Android's Dalvik is not an attack on Java SE(like MS did and Oracle is claiming). It has literally killed Java ME on the smartphone. And Java ME was never compatible with Java SE. In fact Android's Dalvik is much more source compatible with Java SE than Java ME had ever been.

Otherwise, yeah. Choice equals competition and profits don't like competition... If it weren't for Android, Apple would have been more valuable than Exxon by now.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The right track
by JAlexoid on Mon 18th Jul 2011 23:14 UTC in reply to "The right track"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

The best way to keep a company on the right track is to stop buying their products if they start behaving badly. Of course, sometimes this is not possible (like when you only have one choice for electricity), but for everything else, let the market decide.

I remember about 10 years ago when there were outcries to have the government do something about Internet Explorer and Microsoft's dominance in the browser market. Somehow though, that situation managed to sort itself out, and required absolutely no help from the government ...


And I hate(and I mean hate) Microsoft, yet somehow they get money from the laptop I buy, because there is no other alternative...

LOL @ IE example. MS got beaten up by the US DoJ and EU fined it 1.5 billion in total for these shenanigans...

PS: And even though I say that to the face of my country's MS country manager, they still profit from me and care not what my opinion of them is. So buying "other" stuff is not the ultimate response, no matter how laisez faire people try to spin it.

Edited 2011-07-18 23:17 UTC

Reply Score: 7

v RE[2]: The right track
by WorknMan on Tue 19th Jul 2011 00:12 UTC in reply to "RE: The right track"
RE[3]: The right track
by JAlexoid on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Funny, how those laptops work, I can't get one in my country and the nearest two countries to me. Let alone the fact, that those laptops are literally of considerably inferior quality...

EU fine happened in 2004 and required only additional effort to make Windows interoperable. The 2008 fine was the result of their non-compliance and 2008 decision added additional measures.
In fact the only thing what the decision showed is the power that Microsoft has over government institutions as well...

Free markets "don't exist", just like communist societies "don't exist".
(Obviously there are counterexamples of both, but when absolute trust or/and absolute knowledge is out of the equation - both can't exist)

Reply Score: 3

RE: The right track
by Soulbender on Mon 18th Jul 2011 23:34 UTC in reply to "The right track"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

if only this pipedream of a self-regulating, responsible market was real.

Reply Score: 11

RE: The right track
by HappyGod on Tue 19th Jul 2011 04:42 UTC in reply to "The right track"
HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

That theory is pretty much dead in the water.

The market is actually pretty lousy at promoting competition.

I mean that's the whole reason we have anti-competition watch-dog type government agencies. Their job is to intervene when the market gets it wrong.

The market is even less likely to handle this type of situation correctly given that Google's filtering techniques are invisible to the user, and we are forced to assume that Google is playing fair.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: The right track
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 05:36 UTC in reply to "RE: The right track"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The market is even less likely to handle this type of situation correctly given that Google's filtering techniques are invisible to the user, and we are forced to assume that Google is playing fair.


You don't have to assume any such thing. Just enter the exact same terms into a number of search engines, and check the results for bias for yourself. Choose any topic area with which you are very familiar, so that you may assess the results for yourself.

Meh. In any event, if you do find a bias that is not to your liking ... just switch search providers, just as you would switch TV stations.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The right track
by Alfman on Tue 19th Jul 2011 08:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"Meh. In any event, if you do find a bias that is not to your liking ... just switch search providers, just as you would switch TV stations."

I think your trivializing google's role in markets other than search, but focusing on what you said above...

Do you know how to change location bar searches under FF? Seriously, go to the location bar and type in search terms. Did you know that, regardless of which search provider you have installed, your query in this box is always answered by google?

I discovered it when I saw other people querying from the location bar which is selected by default. Even though they had a non-google search engine selected, they'd get redirected to google. They really didn't know why google was coming up, and neither did I. I looked into it further and it turned out that google was hard coded into the browser location bar. At the time, the only way to change the location bar search (which many people use by default) was to literally recompile the browser.

This was obviously a feature google compelled mozilla to include because of their financial relationship.

These days FF made it a little easier to change, all we have to do is navigate to "about:config", bypass the "warranty" screen, navigate to keyword.URL and replace the google url with another search engine query string.

Given that people do search from the location bar and the exaggerated level of expertise required to switch search providers there, it seems plausible that at least some of them are stuck with google.

It wouldn't be inconceivable if this amounted to an example of illegal product bundling. After all, MS was heavily criticized for the inability to remove IE and was forced by the government to enable third parties/users to override dozens of hidden invocation mechanisms.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: The right track
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th Jul 2011 09:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The right track"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I discovered it when I saw other people querying from the location bar which is selected by default. Even though they had a non-google search engine selected, they'd get redirected to google. They really didn't know why google was coming up, and neither did I. I looked into it further and it turned out that google was hard coded into the browser location bar. At the time, the only way to change the location bar search (which many people use by default) was to literally recompile the browser.

This was obviously a feature google compelled mozilla to include because of their financial relationship.


This is provably nonsense. Switching from Google to DuckDuckGo in Chrome - Google's own browser - changes the search function in the location bar to DDG as well. If Google's own browser does this, why would Google force Mozilla to keep Google in the location var?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The right track
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 10:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"I discovered it when I saw other people querying from the location bar which is selected by default. Even though they had a non-google search engine selected, they'd get redirected to google. They really didn't know why google was coming up, and neither did I. I looked into it further and it turned out that google was hard coded into the browser location bar. At the time, the only way to change the location bar search (which many people use by default) was to literally recompile the browser.

This was obviously a feature google compelled mozilla to include because of their financial relationship.


This is provably nonsense. Switching from Google to DuckDuckGo in Chrome - Google's own browser - changes the search function in the location bar to DDG as well. If Google's own browser does this, why would Google force Mozilla to keep Google in the location var?
"

Firefox switches readily to DuckDuckGo as well.

http://i.imgur.com/00wLy.jpg

Snapshot taken from my KDE4 desktop a minute or so ago.

Edited 2011-07-19 10:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: The right track
by Drantin on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The right track"
Drantin Member since:
2006-07-10

Does it work for searching from the location bar as well as the search bar which your screenshot covers?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: The right track
by Alfman on Tue 19th Jul 2011 20:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom_Holwerda,

"This is provably nonsense. Switching from Google to DuckDuckGo in Chrome - Google's own browser - changes the search function in the location bar to DDG as well."

I said firefox didn't I? Try it for yourself before calling my post nonsense!
I'm using 3.6.17, but I doubt they "fixed" it.

lemur2,

"Firefox switches readily to DuckDuckGo as well.
http://i.imgur.com/00wLy.jpg
Snapshot taken from my KDE4 desktop a minute or so ago."

Your screenshot shows that you queried using the search box, not the url location bar.
(Quantum computing, nice!)

Reply Score: 2

RE: The right track
by unclefester on Tue 19th Jul 2011 09:39 UTC in reply to "The right track"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

In fact MS came extremely close to being dismantled by the US government for antitrust activities.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The right track
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 13:35 UTC in reply to "The right track"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Can't say I agree with this. The best way to keep a company on the right track is to stop buying their products if they start behaving badly. Of course, sometimes this is not possible (like when you only have one choice for electricity), but for everything else, let the market decide.

This is assuming the market knows what the f*** it's doing in the first place. Most of the time... it doesn't. Capitalism usually fails miserably at what it is supposed to do: allow the good, innovative companies/products win while forcing the inferior ones to improve or go under. The company with the most money and the biggest wallet wins; not necessarily the one who truly deserves it.

I remember about 10 years ago when there were outcries to have the government do something about Internet Explorer and Microsoft's dominance in the browser market. Somehow though, that situation managed to sort itself out, and required absolutely no help from the government ...

Microsoft left the entire Web f***ed up, hardcore, for... what was it? Maybe at least a half a decade before Mozilla was finally able to get Firefox 1.0 out there at finally get them on their feet again? Until then, the Web was basically just sitting there, rotting away, losing years of progress. Microsoft set back the Web not only all Windows users, but those of other operating systems. And you're happy with the way it "sorted itself out"? I say Microsoft should've had their asses nailed by the US government, hard. They broke the law with their browser and operating system. They're criminals, according to the laws of their own country. Why should they be allowed to get away with it?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The right track
by TechGeek on Tue 19th Jul 2011 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE: The right track"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Why should they be allowed to get away with it?


We elected a Republican for president? Seriously, Bush had the DoJ back off from hurting their big business interests. The original sanction against Microsoft was to break them up. See how far that got?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: The right track
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th Jul 2011 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The right track"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, that's a point that most people don't remember. When Bush was elected, all of the management of the Microsoft case changed hands. They didn't care.

I often wonder if it would have really been better with multi mini Microsofts. At&t's breakup did help the competition situation. However, I can't imagine the headaches of dealing with multiple incompatible versions of windows or office as was once proposed. I'm not sure if that would have helped alternative operating systems or hurt them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The right track
by _txf_ on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The right track"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17


However, I can't imagine the headaches of dealing with multiple incompatible versions of windows or office as was once proposed. I'm not sure if that would have helped alternative operating systems or hurt them.


I thought the plan was to break them up by Division. So that there would be Windows in one company, Ms Office in another, IE in another and so on.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The right track
by UltraZelda64 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 18:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I thought the plan was to break them up by Division. So that there would be Windows in one company, Ms Office in another, IE in another and so on.

Yep. That's the way I understood it.

And there's already countless versions of Windows, and countless versions of Office. And I would add that there is plenty of incompatibility between versions as well.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: The right track
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th Jul 2011 20:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The right track"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, but those aren't concurrent. Microsoft isn't currently working on two different versions of windows which would only be kinda related.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The right track
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th Jul 2011 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The right track"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

There were several plans that they were considering. I'm not sure which one was the last one they proposed.

Reply Score: 2

v What about their YouTube activities?
by obsidian on Mon 18th Jul 2011 23:34 UTC
sonnyrao Member since:
2011-07-18

I'm more concerned about Google's Youtube behaviour than their alleged monopolistic behaviour.

Google has done *as little as possible* to remove the thousands of vids on Youtube which promote or glorify terrorism. In spite of this, there seems to have been no interest in investigating this.

I am strongly for "free speech" and I have no problem with videos which "criticise". However, most (if not all) terrorist vids go well into hate-speech and "incitement to violence" territory.


I'm not sure what this has to do with the FTC investigation?

Also, why is it Google's job to investigate this, who decides where the boundary between free speech and hate-speech is? Should they censor their search results also, and how could they do this in a scalable way?

Reply Score: 2

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

Totally agree.

One person's terrorist is another persons hero.

It's up to international bodies like the UN to decide what is and is not terrorism. Not Google.

Reply Score: 6

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

maybe you should slow your roll and realize it is not the job of Google to police the content on its site. Google will comply with court orders.. that is why infringing materials are taken down all the time, and if the FBI gave a crap and got a warrant and a shut down order, Google would happily turn over the material and data on the material as well as shut the channel down.

Reply Score: 2

This doesn't help with oversight
by sonnyrao on Mon 18th Jul 2011 23:36 UTC
sonnyrao
Member since:
2011-07-18

IMHO, all this is really doing is forcing Google to hire more lawyers and lobbyists. So, I don't see it doing what Thom thinks it's doing, and as a US taxpayer, it seems like the govt is merely a pawn in a larger corporate struggle here, and is wasting money to help some corporations (and lawyers in general) at the expense of another. I don't think consumer choice is the real issue at all.

Edit: s/one corportation/some corporations/

Edited 2011-07-18 23:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

consumers chose... so I fail to see the problem.

besides that... it is not like Google is preventing other search companies from indexing the web, or preventing those same companies from selling advertising space.

Heck... Google is all about openness on the web and builds platforms with the intention of allowing everyone to build services that can inter-operate with the one Google is building.

If commercial success becomes the standard for anti-competitive behavior, then the US is in a more serious situation than I have been thinking for the last decade.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

consumers chose... so I fail to see the problem. besides that... it is not like Google is preventing other search companies from indexing the web, or preventing those same companies from selling advertising space. Heck... Google is all about openness on the web and builds platforms with the intention of allowing everyone to build services that can inter-operate with the one Google is building. If commercial success becomes the standard for anti-competitive behavior, then the US is in a more serious situation than I have been thinking for the last decade.


Exactly.

Personally, I think it seems to me that lobbying of government (rather than the actual law) has come to define the standard for so-called "anti-competitive behavior".

To this end, there was a story recently where Google has begun to hire more lobbying firms. It remains to be seen if that is enough for Google to now do adequate couter-lobbying, becase there is apparently now a quite large gang lined up against it.

Edited 2011-07-19 01:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

consumers chose... so I fail to see the problem.


No, just as Microsoft got OEMs to offer its operating system and browser, so, too, has Google leveraged its way to being default search engine on most PCs. This wasn't illegal or immoral. It was good business. But we're now at a point where Google wants to push its way into countless other markets -- using its strength in search.

besides that... it is not like Google is preventing other search companies from indexing the web, or preventing those same companies from selling advertising space.


That's not true. Google has lots of exclusive arrangements with content owners which aren't available to other search providers.

Heck... Google is all about openness on the web and builds platforms with the intention of allowing everyone to build services that can inter-operate with the one Google is building.


That has nothing to do with openness on the web. It's about strengthening Google's own platform.

If commercial success becomes the standard for anti-competitive behavior, then the US is in a more serious situation than I have been thinking for the last decade.


No, commercial success isn't the differentiator. It's monopoly power. There's a huge difference between the two.

Reply Score: 2

sonnyrao Member since:
2011-07-18

"consumers chose... so I fail to see the problem.


No, just as Microsoft got OEMs to offer its operating system and browser, so, too, has Google leveraged its way to being default search engine on most PCs. This wasn't illegal or immoral. It was good business. But we're now at a point where Google wants to push its way into countless other markets -- using its strength in search.
"

Can you give an example of this? MS, basically forced OEMs to bundle Windows on PCs and we still hear about that today (the "Windows Tax") is there sometime similar that Google has done?

"besides that... it is not like Google is preventing other search companies from indexing the web, or preventing those same companies from selling advertising space.


That's not true. Google has lots of exclusive arrangements with content owners which aren't available to other search providers.
"

Hmm, Google failed to secure exclusive arrangements on
Music for their Music venture. What exclusive content have they secured?

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

sonnyrao,

"Hmm, Google failed to secure exclusive arrangements on
Music for their Music venture. What exclusive content have they secured?"

Of course not, but then they are not a monopoly in the online music market. If I were to guess what the poster meant, it is that google is collecting a lot of information about users behind the scenes which competitors don't have access to. Between the old doubleclick network, adsense, analytics, gmail, maps, etc. Google has a great deal of information about us and it is no secret that it uses the information to create profiles to target ads.

Competitors such as fallen yahoo and bing also have the same breadth of services, however because they are so much smaller in terms of internet market share, they are less effective.

In other words, as with any other monopolies, the large market share in and of itself makes for an unfair competitive advantage. Not that I know the extend of the advantage or how to rectify it.

It concerns me a great deal that the most direct beneficiary of anti-trust proceedings against google would be microsoft.

On a holistic level (and off topic), I'm disenchanted that every single market is slowly being taken over by oligopolies who control just about everything. I call it the consolidation war.

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

It is Google's information!!! why should Google's competitors have any freaking rights to the work products of Google?

You people have no clue what being an abusive monopoly is about. You are making me sound like a free market nut job, but seriously...If I build a company that sells marketing based on metrics I gather from users of my software systems that I provide, no one has any rights to that information but me. I don't care if I have 99% market share.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

modmans2ndcoming,

"It is Google's information!!! why should Google's competitors have any freaking rights to the work products of Google?"

I didn't claim otherwise, I merely brought up that it's an advantage due to their market size rather than anything they do internally.

How much of an advantage is it? I could only guess, but I do have clients who won't even bother with advertising anywhere else simply because they are the biggest. If the situation were reversed and bing were the one with a significant lead, I'm almost positive my clients would be there instead.

Monopolies have many advantages which have nothing to do with merit. This observation holds true whether the monopoly is ATT, MS, Intel, Google, etc.


"You people have no clue what being an abusive monopoly is about."

You're responding to my post, but I didn't really say they were "abusive". If one doesn't mind google tracking everyone's online behavior, then I'd say they are a fairly benign monopoly in comparison to others.

Still, anti-trust laws are an acknowledgement that monopolies run counter to the goals of free market capitalism and that the public does have a vested interest in the free market working with viable competition.

The government has the responsibility to intervene, ideally before things get so out of hand that we incur long term damage (aka microsoft).

"You are making me sound like a free market nut job, but seriously...If I build a company that sells marketing based on metrics I gather from users of my software systems that I provide, no one has any rights to that information but me. I don't care if I have 99% market share."

I hadn't suggested a remedy, I wouldn't even know how to do it fairly. This case is particularly challenging because microsoft is there waiting to take the lead and that would likely be bad for everyone.


Edit: Yes, I realize "free market" and "intervene" are contradictory, but that wasn't a mistake. A pure free market always plays out into a monopoly/oligopoly end game, intervention is needed to counterbalance the tendency towards monopolies.

Edited 2011-07-20 22:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Can you give an example of this? MS, basically forced OEMs to bundle Windows on PCs and we still hear about that today (the "Windows Tax") is there sometime similar that Google has done?


Google pays OEMs to put its crapware on your machine before you buy it, in order to make google.com the default search provider.

Hmm, Google failed to secure exclusive arrangements on Music for their Music venture. What exclusive content have they secured?


Here's just one small example.
http://investor.google.com/releases/2006/0807.html

Google doesn't announce most of its exclusive agreements. It gets content providers (newspapers, magazines, etc) to give it exclusive access to index their walled gardens.

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Please provide examples for every point you made and describe to me what about it is anti-competitive to other entities in the search market.

Reply Score: 2

Minor point
by lemur2 on Mon 18th Jul 2011 23:56 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

No, we're fine. People who aren't fine, however, are Google's other customers - the customers that actually make Google money.


I'm not at all sure that the latter group of entities is at all protected by anti-trust law. I'm pretty sure that anti-trust laws are written to protect the first group, the group of people described here as being "fine".

If this is the case, aside from the argument if Google's practises actually unfairly favour Google, exactly what law are Google supposed to have broken?

Suppose for the sake of argument that Google's advertising does in fact favour Google. Isn't that exactly what advertising is supposed to do?

Edited 2011-07-18 23:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Minor point
by Brendan on Tue 19th Jul 2011 05:02 UTC in reply to "Minor point"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

If this is the case, aside from the argument if Google's practises actually unfairly favour Google, exactly what law are Google supposed to have broken?


The general idea is that a company who has market dominance in one area can't use that market dominance to gain an unfair advantage in a different area.

One hypothetical example would be Microsoft using the market share of Windows to influence consumer's choice of web browser. Another hypothetical example would be an internet search provider using their market share to influence consumer's choice of travel agent.

Suppose for the sake of argument that Google's advertising does in fact favour Google. Isn't that exactly what advertising is supposed to do?


It has nothing to do with Google's advertising. It has everything to do with whether or not their search engine's results are unbiased.

Imagine if they rigged their search results so that any search containing the words "mobile phone" only ever returned links to pages that make Android sound fantastic and links to pages criticising Windows Phone 7. If they did that, then they'd be using their market dominance in one area (internet search) to gain an unfair advantage in a different area (mobile phones).

Of course I'm *not* saying Google are doing anything like that (and I'm not saying they aren't).

For fun, I just used Google's search engine to search for "best search engine", and Google wasn't even mentioned in the first page of their own search results (which surprised me a lot). The top result (for me) was "http://www.dogpile.com/". Then I used Google to search for "mobile phone" and Android wasn't mentioned. Now I'm starting to wonder if they're guilty of not doing everything they can do for their shareholders... :-)

-Brendan

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Minor point
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 05:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Minor point"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

For fun, I just used Google's search engine to search for "best search engine", and Google wasn't even mentioned in the first page of their own search results (which surprised me a lot). The top result (for me) was "http://www.dogpile.com/". Then I used Google to search for "mobile phone" and Android wasn't mentioned.


OK, had those results been the opposite, I suppose one could argue that Google was trying to unfairly influence ordinary people. Since protecting the interests of ordinary people IS the point of anti-trust law, there is the beginning of a premise here.

The only remaining problems are:

(1) the results were not the opposite,
(2) there are plenty of alternative search engine providers, and people may easily switch to them, and
(3) Google has only 69% of the search engine market anyway

It seems to me the FTC (or whoever) still has an extraordinarily difficult case to make.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Minor point
by steampoweredlawn on Tue 19th Jul 2011 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Minor point"
steampoweredlawn Member since:
2006-09-27


For fun, I just used Google's search engine to search for "best search engine", and Google wasn't even mentioned in the first page of their own search results (which surprised me a lot). The top result (for me) was "http://www.dogpile.com/". Then I used Google to search for "mobile phone" and Android wasn't mentioned. Now I'm starting to wonder if they're guilty of not doing everything they can do for their shareholders... :-)


Similarly, I did a quick Google search for "photo sharing". The first result I got was for Flickr, the second for Photobucket. Google's own Picasa came in third, above a Wikipedia link for photo sharing. Search for anything Google is trying to establish a presence in, and you'll find they do not favor their own product.

On the other hand, searching for "photo sharing" on Bing returns no mention of Picasa on the first page.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Minor point
by tomcat on Wed 20th Jul 2011 00:30 UTC in reply to "Minor point"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

"No, we're fine. People who aren't fine, however, are Google's other customers - the customers that actually make Google money.


I'm not at all sure that the latter group of entities is at all protected by anti-trust law. I'm pretty sure that anti-trust laws are written to protect the first group, the group of people described here as being "fine".

If this is the case, aside from the argument if Google's practises actually unfairly favour Google, exactly what law are Google supposed to have broken?
"

You either have a remarkably short memory -- or you're an unremarkable hypocrite. Where were you when MS was being sued by the DOJ and state AGs for shipping a browser in the operating system -- despite the fact that most people didn't feel harmed at all? Oh, yeah. You were WHINING about the horror, the horror, the horror ...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Minor point
by lemur2 on Thu 21st Jul 2011 00:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Minor point"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"No, we're fine. People who aren't fine, however, are Google's other customers - the customers that actually make Google money. I'm not at all sure that the latter group of entities is at all protected by anti-trust law. I'm pretty sure that anti-trust laws are written to protect the first group, the group of people described here as being "fine". If this is the case, aside from the argument if Google's practises actually unfairly favour Google, exactly what law are Google supposed to have broken?
You either have a remarkably short memory -- or you're an unremarkable hypocrite. Where were you when MS was being sued by the DOJ and state AGs for shipping a browser in the operating system -- despite the fact that most people didn't feel harmed at all? Oh, yeah. You were WHINING about the horror, the horror, the horror ... "

My my, such vitriol in such a short post.

IMO Microsoft's sins in bundling IE were not so much related to the bundling, but rather were related to their embedding the browser within the OS and making it un-removeable. In addition, Microsoft included a significant number of utterly non-standard exclusive-to-Microsoft extensions (ActiveX is a good example) yet they refused for a long long time to include good support of useable-by-anybody standards such as SVG or proper support of PNG.

Clearly this was all an attempt to make it required for users to have to use only Microsoft software to access rich content over the web. That was the big no-no. Even today Microsoft's browsers by default cannot render some unencumbered web-useful multimedia formats such as Theora, Vorbis or WebM.

This kind of behaviour continued with the introduction of Silverlight. Microsoft's IE9 still does not implement SVG filters (which has been a web standard for over a decade) nor does it implement, for example, CSS transitions, CSS animations, SMIL or HTML5 forms. Only recently have Microsoft begun to give up. Microsoft are starting to get standards compliance, but they still have a way to go. The IE web browser is still, to this day, embedded in the Microsoft desktop OS.

In stark contrast Google does precisely nothing to exclude competition. One can change one's search engine at the drop of a hat, and one does NOT need to have Google's Chrome browser installed in order to use any of Google's other web-based services. One can use all of Google's services (except by definition Chrome itself) even if one uses IE to browse the web.

Here is an example of Google offering users of non-Google software some additional features which are not provided to them by that non-Google software:
http://www.webmproject.org/code/#webmdshow_directshow_filters_sourc...

Enjoy.

TL;DR :

Google = "Use any software on any OS on any device you want".
Microsoft = "You must use only Windows and IE for a 'full experience'".

Of the two, only Microsoft's is anti-trust behaviour.

Edited 2011-07-21 00:46 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Minor point
by tomcat on Thu 21st Jul 2011 01:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Minor point"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06


In stark contrast Google does precisely nothing to exclude competition. One can change one's search engine at the drop of a hat, and one does NOT need to have Google's Chrome browser installed in order to use any of Google's other web-based services. One can use all of Google's services (except by definition Chrome itself) even if one uses IE to browse the web.


Nonsense. Google would like you to believe that it's just about typing "google.com" or "bing.com" into a browser address bar. But it's more than that. Search has become far more invasive. Most users have no idea how to change the default search provider built into their operating system and in browsers. Just as they had no idea how to change the default browser circa 2000. It's the same thing all over again. Google feeds on that ignorance to build its business model. It's not a "choice".

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Minor point
by lemur2 on Thu 21st Jul 2011 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Minor point"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" In stark contrast Google does precisely nothing to exclude competition. One can change one's search engine at the drop of a hat, and one does NOT need to have Google's Chrome browser installed in order to use any of Google's other web-based services. One can use all of Google's services (except by definition Chrome itself) even if one uses IE to browse the web.
Nonsense. Google would like you to believe that it's just about typing "google.com" or "bing.com" into a browser address bar. But it's more than that. Search has become far more invasive. Most users have no idea how to change the default search provider built into their operating system and in browsers. Just as they had no idea how to change the default browser circa 2000. It's the same thing all over again. Google feeds on that ignorance to build its business model. It's not a "choice". "

Utter nonsense. Changing the search engine is built right into the search bar. To change it is easy-peasy.

http://i.imgur.com/00wLy.jpg

Free tip: To change the search engine in Firefox, click on the pull-down arrow at the left edge of the search box. The search box is the small typing window to the right of the address bar, the one with the binoculars icon at the right.

To search using the newly selected default search engine, type the search terms in the search box, and press enter or click the binoculars.

PS: For my operating system, there is no built-in search engine, or browser for that matter. Using the software installer, one can search for and install the browser of one's choice without already having a browser (unless one inexplicably wants IE).

Edited 2011-07-21 02:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Minor point
by tomcat on Thu 21st Jul 2011 02:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Minor point"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Utter nonsense. Changing the search engine is built right into the search bar. To change it is easy-peasy.


What about IE? And what about the default search provider built into the OS? That was my point.

Oh, yeah... you forgot about that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Minor point
by lemur2 on Thu 21st Jul 2011 02:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Minor point"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Utter nonsense. Changing the search engine is built right into the search bar. To change it is easy-peasy.
What about IE? "

It is hardly Google's fault if IE makes it difficult for users to change search engines.

Having said that, on IE8 there is also a search box, and to the right of the search box there is a magnifying-glass icon, and to the right of that a pull-down arrow. Click on the pull-down arrow and select "Manage Search Providers" from the list. This will allow you to add search providers, and to change the default search provider.

From what I remember, after installing or upgrading IE, when running it for the first time it asks you what search engine you want to be the default.

None of this has anything at all to do with Google, all of this behaviour is totally beyond Google's influence.

On Google's browser, Chrome, changing the default search engine via the "Manage search engines" dialog box is a little more hidden from view, but it is still very discoverable:

http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?answer=95426

And what about the default search provider built into the OS? That was my point. Oh, yeah... you forgot about that.


For my operating system, there is no built-in search engine, or browser for that matter. Without already having a browser installed, using the software installer one can search for and install the browser of one's choice unless, inexplicably, one wants IE. The makers of IE don't provide a version which runs on my operating system ... no great loss though, there are plenty of other choices offerred, all of them are frankly better than IE anyway.

Edited 2011-07-21 02:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Minor point
by tomcat on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 22:46 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Minor point"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

It is hardly Google's fault if IE makes it difficult for users to change search engines.


The point is that a user has no idea how to change that setting. But that doesn't stop Google from embedding itself like a tick on OEM machines.

Having said that, on IE8 there is also a search box, and to the right of the search box there is a magnifying-glass icon, and to the right of that a pull-down arrow. Click on the pull-down arrow and select "Manage Search Providers" from the list.


LOL. That's hilarious. Remember during the Microsoft anti-trust trial? All that the user had to do to run another browser was download it, and click on its icon. Not too difficult, eh? But even THAT was considered too much for the average user. Now, you want the user to manage default search providers? LOL.

And you actually want to defend Google's monopoly on that basis? Face it. You're a Google fanboy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Minor point
by Alfman on Thu 21st Jul 2011 03:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Minor point"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"Free tip: To change the search engine in Firefox, click on the pull-down arrow at the left edge of the search box. The search box is the small typing window to the right of the address bar, the one with the binoculars icon at the right."

I'm not sure if you forgot my earlier post, but searching from the url location bar in FF returns a google search even after a user switches their search provider. A lot of people, many who don't know what a url is, routinely navigate the web this way (ie type in "mybank" instead of "mybank.com"), this way google may get advertising dollars from mybank every time the user logs in to do online banking.

There was a fascinating research paper on just this phenomenon (advertisers paying search engines for users who were already trying to reach them), maybe I'll try to look for it again...

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Minor point
by lemur2 on Thu 21st Jul 2011 03:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Minor point"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

lemur2, "Free tip: To change the search engine in Firefox, click on the pull-down arrow at the left edge of the search box. The search box is the small typing window to the right of the address bar, the one with the binoculars icon at the right." I'm not sure if you forgot my earlier post, but searching from the url location bar in FF returns a google search even after a user switches their search provider. A lot of people, many who don't know what a url is, routinely navigate the web this way (ie type in "mybank" instead of "mybank.com"), this way google may get advertising dollars from mybank every time the user logs in to do online banking. There was a fascinating research paper on just this phenomenon (advertisers paying search engines for users who were already trying to reach them), maybe I'll try to look for it again...


One doesn't search from the awesome bar in Firefox. Typing things in the awesome bar searches the browser history, which certainly doesn't use Google search.

If I mistype or fail to complete some URL in the awesome bar in Firefox, I do indeed get search results returned ... from OpenDNS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDNS

"If a domain cannot be found, the service redirects users to a search page with search results and advertising provided by Yahoo!.

...

This behavior is similar to that of many large ISPs who also redirect failed requests to their own servers containing advertising."


My bold.

Firefox doesn't know anything about OpenDNS, only my router does. I do not have Yahoo! as a search engine in Firefox. This behaviour is therefore not due to Firefox.

If you are seeing search results from Google when you mistype a URL in Firefox's awesome bar, and you use the default DNS provided by your ISP, then it is likely your ISP who has chosen Google, not Mozilla, and not Google. Speak to your ISP if you do not like this behaviour, or use another DNS service.

Edited 2011-07-21 03:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Minor point
by Alfman on Thu 21st Jul 2011 03:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Minor point"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"If I mistype or fail to complete some URL in the awesome bar in Firefox, I do indeed get search results returned ... from OpenDNS. "

Oh oh oh, I completely failed to factor in this scenario. Well that clears things up!

When the browser submits a DNS lookup for hostname (without a suffix), the opendns service redirect your request to their servers.

Two points:
1. Your DNS provider is routing you to their servers instead of returning NXDOMAIN. For users who's ISPs don't redirect non-existing domains, they will revert to the built in firefox behavior of a google redirect.

2. If you type in something which is not a valid host name, firefox does not attempt to look it up through DNS, it will revert to looking it up through google.


"Firefox doesn't know anything about OpenDNS, only my router does. This behaviour is therefore not due to Firefox."

Absolutely.

"If you are seeing search results from Google when you mistype a URL in Firefox's awesom bar, and you use the default DNS provided by your ISP, then it is your ISP who has chosen Google, not Mozilla."

I'd argue that that might be an anti-trust concern anyways, but that's not what I'm talking about.

You can test it yourself, type in (with spaces) "operating system news" into the location bar and see who comes up. It's surprising isn't it?

I can provide traces, but now I think you should be able to reproduce it.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by vtolkov
by vtolkov on Tue 19th Jul 2011 00:08 UTC
vtolkov
Member since:
2006-07-26

Ok, this is "Microsoft worries about Google".

Reply Score: 2

P-word?
by Drumhellar on Tue 19th Jul 2011 02:51 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Um... what's the "p-word"?

I have a nagging suspicion that when I find out, I'll smack myself in the forehead...

Reply Score: 2

RE: P-word?
by lemur2 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 03:01 UTC in reply to "P-word?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Um... what's the "p-word"? I have a nagging suspicion that when I find out, I'll smack myself in the forehead...


I thought the "p-word" might be patent.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: P-word?
by Drumhellar on Tue 19th Jul 2011 03:04 UTC in reply to "RE: P-word?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Thank you. My forehead has been properly chastised.

Reply Score: 4

P-Word
by boxy on Tue 19th Jul 2011 03:39 UTC
boxy
Member since:
2011-06-20

The p-word is patent, particularly software patents. If anything, they should be investigating Apple for their anti-competitive use of their software patent portfolio. But I guess that's actually legal given that software patents are legal. It really saddens me that this is what our "free market" has come to. This country is not-so-slowly turning into a corporate distopia.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by bolomkxxviii
by bolomkxxviii on Tue 19th Jul 2011 12:17 UTC
bolomkxxviii
Member since:
2006-05-19

I don't mind them taking a look at Google but how about investigating Comcast and AT&T? They are generally known to be using anti-competitive practices yet they are still not under investigation. Which would benefit the average consumer more, an investigation of Google or breaking the duopoloy in control of most of the high speed internet access in the US? There is a reason we have some of the most expensive internet access in the developed world.

Reply Score: 2

I'm fine with this except....
by jboss1995 on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:15 UTC
jboss1995
Member since:
2007-05-02

The one making the accusation is Microsoft the worst violator of this in the computer world. Should Google sue Microsoft for stilling chrome? ie9 is chrome with a Microsoft logo.

Reply Score: 1