Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 00:04 UTC, submitted by dungsaga
In the News

If the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up, journalist and film producer Jonathan Taplin told an audience at University College London's Faculty of Law this week.

He was speaking at an event titled Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital monopolies have cornered culture and what it means for all of us, where he credited the clampers put on Bell then IBM for helping to create the PC industry and the internet.

There's quite a few other companies I'd add to those two.

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Never happen
by JLF65 on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 00:12 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

With the failure to break up Microsoft in the 90's, the ability to break up ANY big company was lost. This was reaffirmed in the failure to break up any of the big banks/financial services that caused the world crash in 08. Any talk of breaking up any company today is just spitting in the wind.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Never happen
by Veto on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 02:31 UTC in reply to "Never happen"
Veto Member since:
2010-11-13

Any talk of breaking up any company today is just spitting in the wind.

Indeed. The political climate does not favour messing with Big Corp. Especially as the interest has shifted from breaking up the previous mostly national monopolies (IBM/Bell) to strengthening the current global monopolies (Microsoft/Apple/Google/Facebook/...) in a percieved national interest.
Hopefully the new EU sans UK will become more bold and put some needed regulation in place.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Never happen
by CaptainN- on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Never happen"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

The EU was designed as a neo-lib dream to destroy the welfare state (and welfare capitalism/socialism). I can't see why they'd take on big business for the sake of taking on big business. They'd be more likely to try and partner with (eg, give them lots of money for favors) those big businesses as they've been doing for a long while now. That's what neo-libs do.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Never happen
by WorknMan on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 04:44 UTC in reply to "Never happen"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

It's funny you mention Microsoft, as I kept hearing in the 90's and early 00's about how we'd have to break up MS to have any real competition on the desktop.

Then Apple came along and snuck in the back door, followed shortly by Google ...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Never happen
by shotsman on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 07:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Never happen"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

And Windows remains supreme (in terms on numbers) on the desktop.
The rest are merely window (sic) dressing in MS's eyes.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Never happen
by WorknMan on Mon 4th Dec 2017 00:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Never happen"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

And Windows remains supreme (in terms on numbers) on the desktop.


Right, that's why I said 'snuck in the back door'. I know people who's only computers are iPads or Chromebooks. I expect this trend will continue to spike upwards in the coming years, as these devices become more capable as desktop computer replacements.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Never happen
by bert64 on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Never happen"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Apple was already around, and for quite some time MS kept them around intentionally so they could point and claim to have competition.
Google are also a rounding error when it comes to desktop...

MS still dominate desktop computing, and are still using it with varying degrees of success to leverage their way into other markets. Their dominance still makes it difficult if not impossible to compete, just look at Munich for an example.

Apple and Google have had success in other markets, not desktops.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Never happen
by leech on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Never happen"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Not sure if this adds to the conversation, just agreeing that that there was no 'then Apple came along' the market share for Macs isn't much higher than that for Linux desktop usage. Microsoft still dominates in the 90-95% range.

Granted most of this is complete guess work, since there isn't a perfect way to rate usage.

I'd suggest maybe Netflix would have some good numbers, but I think their 'mobile' and 'console' numbers would trounce everything else. Doesn't help that Netflix is gimped on everything but IE/Edge.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Never happen
by CaptainN- on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 18:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Never happen"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Focusing on just the desktop market is itself an error though. If you look at consumer computing as a whole, you see a massive migration away from desktops and into smart devices of various kinds. This is why Apple focuses so much on iOS as a laptop replacement. And frankly, it's a great idea. Open computers are too difficult for consumers to manage (I'm talking about the plague of computer viruses in the 00s, and even persisting on Windows to this day - and other open OS platforms - Windows/macOS).

Google is smart to follow this trend with Android and Chrome OS - though I wish they'd make more aggressive moves into laptop/hybrid style consumer computing. They are the best positioned to take on Microsoft in their own stronghold - but they haven't been moving aggressively enough.

Reply Score: 0

Biased much?
by KenP on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 05:02 UTC
KenP
Member since:
2009-07-28

A quick search on, err google, threw up his company's name "Intertainer" and guess who are license holders and investors? Microsoft, Apple and Sony.

Figures why the'd want Google and Facebook broken up!

Nice try, Mr. Taplin. How about breaking up Microsoft first. Surely they've monopolised PCs for almost 4 decades now! Until then, shut your biased trap please!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Biased much?
by shotsman on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 07:36 UTC in reply to "Biased much?"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

The thing with Apple is that they don't home a monopoly stake in and market segment that the operate in.
Even in phones, Android devices far outnumber (As the Fandroids love to tell everyone else) iPhones.

I don't know if this is some cunning plan by Cupertino or not.

I do know one thing and that is I don't have nearly as many issues with my Apple kit than I ever had with Windows devices.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Biased much?
by leech on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 19:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Biased much?"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

All Apple have to do to keep the non-monopoly status is NEVER ever release a low to mid-range phone.

Android dominates mostly due to this. Samsung vs Apple is pretty much the only high-range phone war, and Apple kind of funds Samsung by buying their displays anyhow...

Everyone wins, right? (except the consumers who end up buying 1000 dollar phones that don't work all that great as a phone...)

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Biased much?
by Alfman on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 20:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Biased much?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

shotsman,

The thing with Apple is that they don't home a monopoly stake in and market segment that the operate in.



I don't really buy that though. Steve jobs even once said he wanted to go thermo-neuclear on android because he didn't want others sharing the building blocks for smartphones.



Even in phones, Android devices far outnumber (As the Fandroids love to tell everyone else) iPhones.


Yea, even so apple is extremely profitable due to their high profit margins. But the risk of this strategy is long term marginalization, which seems to be something that apple has struggled with both in the past and present as you are observing. I think with hindsight, neglecting the majority of the market will have been a strategic mistake for apple (again). The prices of just about all apple products are so high and the value is so questionable that I think they're seriously loosing support even from many in their core demographic.

DON'T Buy The iPhone X
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fGXDFiFBhg

Apple Mac Pro (Late 2013) - 3 Years Later!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlKieY12TIk


It is quite evident that on its highly successful path to maximize shareholder profits, apple has deteriorated product value and made sacrifices in other places compared to other cutting edge companies. Take a look at their R&D trends:

http://www.asymco.com/2012/01/30/you-cannot-buy-innovation/
R&D / sales:
Microsoft 13.8%
Google 12.8%
Sony 6.1%
HP 2.9%
Apple 2.8%
Dell 1.1%
(follow link for more)


Apple clearly has the resources to fix this, but what's not clear is whether apple executives have much incentive to dig into profits to do it. For better or worse, the job of an executive is to maximize shareholder profits and apple has traditionally done very well investing in branding rather than R&D. Never the less, I think apple's image has deteriorated in the past few years. Personally if I were running the ship, I'd focus far more on R&D, but then I have to concede I've never been in apple's target demographic. My whole life I've always bought products for their value over image and to me the whole RDF was just off-putting.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Biased much?
by user78 on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 21:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Biased much?"
user78 Member since:
2011-07-06

without netneutrality laws...not possible if was possible, it should be done by OBAMA terms and end of BUSH 2nd term...but its too late for that idea i am afraid....you should follow the policy or get busted by law enforcement...very simple users to do....you had your chance with OBAMA...now its their turn to roll the dice

remember Yahoo was victim of it, then SPrint, then Tmobile later....tell me who benefit the most...bigger companies without the law...bigger companies still...it don't matter how...they getting conseravtives and liberals lobby for them...but to me they all are the same side of the team vs startups

Edited 2017-12-02 22:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Biased much?
by Alfman on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Biased much?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

user78,

without netneutrality laws...not possible if was possible, it should be done by OBAMA terms and end of BUSH 2nd term...but its too late for that idea i am afraid....you should follow the policy or get busted by law enforcement...very simple users to do....you had your chance with OBAMA...now its their turn to roll the dice


Hmm, it doesn't sound like you meant to respond to me since none of this corresponds to anything I said in my post.

In response to yours though, I agree that neither party has been willing to stand up for individuals against wall street / big business. Although it's got to be said that the new republican tax plan, which is projected to add at least a trillion dollars to the deficit, will result in corporations acquiring even more wealth, and the burdens of paying for the national debt will invariably fall onto the shoulders of ordinary people like us.

It wouldn't have to be this way, but there's just so much damn corruption at all levels. Politicians are increasingly confident about lying through their teeth about their intentions, claiming to be working for the people while simultaneously stabbing us in the back. Meanwhile the electorate are stupid enough to believe the lies. It's not that I think everyone is dishonest, but in politics you can rise much faster by being a crook and corrupting laws to favor large corporate interests, unfortunately.

Edited 2017-12-02 22:49 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Biased much?
by tuxroller on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 08:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Biased much?"
tuxroller Member since:
2013-10-08
RE[4]: Biased much?
by Alfman on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Biased much?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tuxroller,

Most recent data


Thanks for sharing those charts. It mostly looks like apple's R&D trends have continued where they left off with both R&D and sales growing in similar proportions. Alas, apple R&D remains a meager 3%. I guess they feel it's enough for them. On the other hand, if we were to ask apple's customers, they are probably frustrated with the level of R&D at apple.

The chart with Huawei is interesting, I do wish more foreign companies were represented so that we could make a meaningful comparison between domestic and foreign R&D investment.

Edited 2017-12-03 09:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Biased much?
by JLF65 on Mon 4th Dec 2017 15:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Biased much?"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

the job of an executive is to maximize shareholder profits


THIS, this is what's wrong with business today. It is NOT the job of an exec to maximize shareholder profits. I don't know when that crept into business school, but it's totally wrong. Businessmen (and their companies) have many other more important responsibilities than maximizing profits. Keeping profits up is good, but should never be a goal in and of itself. It should be a byproduct of sound corporate practices.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Biased much?
by Alfman on Mon 4th Dec 2017 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Biased much?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JLF65,

the job of an executive is to maximize shareholder profits

THIS, this is what's wrong with business today. It is NOT the job of an exec to maximize shareholder profits. I don't know when that crept into business school, but it's totally wrong. Businessmen (and their companies) have many other more important responsibilities than maximizing profits. Keeping profits up is good, but should never be a goal in and of itself. It should be a byproduct of sound corporate practices.



I readily concede that maximizing shareholder profits does cause harm, which is why I said "For better or worse, the job of an executive is to maximize shareholder profits...".

When I said this, I did not mean to assert this as a ideal way of running a business, but rather as pragmatic acknowledgement of what happens when wallstreet owns these corporations. I genuinely agree with your concerns, however wallstreet ultimately decides how to run corporations and they get to decide what the corporate goals are. It's just that for wallstreet this is practically synonymous with generating profits at any cost. Wallstreet literally exists for no other reason than that.

We'll probably agree that wallstreet's interests have been harmful to customers, harmful to employees, harmful to homeowners, harmful to the environment, etc...there's nothing they won't stoop to in the name of profit. When they fail, they get bailed out with our public funds. When they are insanely wealthy and setting record profits, their elected puppets succeed in passing massive tax cuts for them so they can collect even more money at the expense of our society and well being.

What the hell are we supposed to do to protect against such corruption? One would hope we could overcome this democratically, but democracy hasn't helped weed out corruption. I really don't know how we go about fixing this because our so called representatives are themselves benefactors of this corporate corruption.

Sorry JLF65 if this discussion gets out of hand, it's a loaded topic! Haha.

Edited 2017-12-04 16:51 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Be afraid
by cheemosabe on Sat 2nd Dec 2017 12:49 UTC
cheemosabe
Member since:
2009-11-29

How interesting it would have break up Bell Labs long ago, we would have gotten rid of transistors, lasers and UNIX.

How interesting it would be to break up Google. We'd get rid of all that pesky research coming out of DeepMind and Google Brain, not to mention opensource projects like VP8 and VP9 which brought a viable open source video codec for the web, something OSNews has requested for a long time.

For people interested in the atmosphere at Bell Labs when it still mattered check out http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/doug97.html" rel="nofollow">https://web.archive.org/web/20071019220633/http://cm.bell-labs.com/c...

I ask everyone to take a hard look at where their fear is coming from.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Be afraid
by spudley99 on Mon 4th Dec 2017 16:55 UTC in reply to "Be afraid"
spudley99 Member since:
2009-03-25

I don't necessarily agree with the article, but I do think your arguments are flawed:

How interesting it would have break up Bell Labs long ago, we would have gotten rid of transistors, lasers and UNIX.


The point of the article was that the companies should be broken up once their ability to innovate slows down due to their size. At the point when Bell Labs were developing things like transistors and lasers, they clearly hadn't lost their ability to innovate, so I don't think there's any argument that they should have been broken up at that point.

How interesting it would be to break up Google. We'd get rid of all that pesky research coming out of DeepMind and Google Brain, not to mention opensource projects like VP8 and VP9 which brought a viable open source video codec for the web, something OSNews has requested for a long time.


VP8 and VP9, as well as the majority of Google's / Alphabet's "innovations" (Maps, Adsense, Nest, etc etc etc) have actually come from them purchasing smaller companies that were doing the innovation. Their record with innovation subsequent to purchasing a company is nowhere near as good as you'd think.

Google has got some great products, but their success in recent years has been in acquisitions, not innovation.

In fact, Google's track record is actually pretty poor -- the majority of products that they've acquired have subsequently been shut down quietly after they failed to gain the market traction that Google might have hoped for.

Even the example of VP8 / VP9 that you cite is a poor one: they may have released the codecs, but they certainly haven't gained universal traction in the way that arguably they should have.

For people interested in the atmosphere at Bell Labs when it still mattered check out http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/doug97.html" rel="nofollow">https://web.archive.org/web/20071019220633/http://cm.bell-labs.com/c...

I ask everyone to take a hard look at where their fear is coming from.


As I said, I'm not trying to argue either way on the issue of whether any given company should be broken up, but I wanted to offer a counter-balance to your argument because it came across as very one-sided.

I would argue that Microsoft should have been broken up in the 1990s. There was a very clear abuse of monopoly power and blatant open-and-shut cases of them stifling innovation. It is much less clear that this is happening today, but it is true that these sorts of things are easier to see with hindsight.

But breaking a company up is not always bad thing for them that it sounds. Today's Microsoft is still a giant, but they have been left behind in several areas that they might have expected to dominate. This has been a direct result of their inability to innovate. I would argue that despite the pain a breakup may have caused them in the short term, they might have ended up in a better position overall today if they had been split up.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Be afraid
by Alfman on Mon 4th Dec 2017 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Be afraid"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

spudley99,


+1 for your whole post!

The antitrust cases against microsoft have largely failed to provide justice to microsoft's victims, which is why many of us consider the antitrust cases a failure. Nevertheless I do think they forced changes in microsoft's approach to business and hampered their ability to exploit monopoly power like it had practiced for so many years. I suspect without any antitrust barriers, MS would have succeeded in stretching it's PC monopoly to the smartphone market. Without antitrust, manufacturers would have been in no position to say no to microsoft, a repeat of what happened throughout the 90s.

Edited 2017-12-04 17:21 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Be afraid
by zima on Tue 5th Dec 2017 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Be afraid"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Hm, though spudley99 was arguing that particularly if MS were to be "punished" in antitrust cases, by splitting them up, then they would have a greater chance of dominating mobile for example ...a thought worth entertaining.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Be afraid
by Alfman on Tue 5th Dec 2017 01:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Be afraid"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

Hm, though spudley99 was arguing that particularly if MS were to be "punished" in antitrust cases, by splitting them up, then they would have a greater chance of dominating mobile for example ...a thought worth entertaining.


I re-read his whole post, and I still agree with it. I'm going to quote this piece because I think it's the one your having trouble reconciling with my opinion:
But breaking a company up is not always bad thing for them that it sounds. Today's Microsoft is still a giant, but they have been left behind in several areas that they might have expected to dominate. This has been a direct result of their inability to innovate. I would argue that despite the pain a breakup may have caused them in the short term, they might have ended up in a better position overall today if they had been split up.



He argues that had they been broken up into smaller companies, it would fundamentally change their business practices. Small companies have more focus, and the consequences of corporate mortality would place newfound emphasis on delivering products customers would want rather than what executives want.

A great case study is their fabled courier tablet, which had great innovative potential but was killed by executives because it did not align with microsoft's other interests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmIgNfp-MdI

https://www.cnet.com/news/the-inside-story-of-how-microsoft-killed-i...


So I think spudley99 makes a valid point, if MS were broken up we could have seen a lot more innovation coming out of the smaller companies. These could have been greater than the whole of microsoft today, which continues to use it's market dominance cursively (forced UI changes, unwanted data collection, vendor lock, etc).


But in addition to this I think it's fair to say that a microsoft, unimpeded by antitrust laws, would undoubtedly have become stronger than it is today (in a completely different way of course).

The fact that neither of these happened leaves us in a third scenario where the company was not broken up and retains an extremely powerful market monopoly, yet suffers in new markets due to the lack of innovation and prohibitions from using monopoly tactics to expand. Does this sound about right to you?

Edited 2017-12-05 01:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Be afraid
by zima on Thu 7th Dec 2017 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Be afraid"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Gosh, I think I'm the last person you have to explain yourself to... ;) But yes, that sounds about right; spudley99 and I focused on the 1st option, and you on 2nd and 3rd ...what (3rd) we sort of unfortunately got.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Be afraid
by zima on Thu 7th Dec 2017 16:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Be afraid"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

PS. Since you mentioned Courier, it got me thinking about other interesting projects from Microsoft Research that didn't seem to go much anywhere...

Like Singularity, the (mostly) managed code OS. Would it have the potential to eventually replace the underpinnings of Windows?

Or Photosynth, a novel way to view together photos of a particular location, "stitched" in a way together to show their relation in a ~3D space. At least this one was still ~alive and available to public last time I checked...

And my favourite, SenseCam - a camera that you wear on your chest, taking photos throughout the day on light/move/scene change, which can be later viewed in dedicated software to tell the "story" of each day. Perhaps too creepy to some. ;) But it did spur a ~commercial product, Autographer.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Be afraid
by Alfman on Thu 7th Dec 2017 19:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Be afraid"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zima,

PS. Since you mentioned Courier, it got me thinking about other interesting projects from Microsoft Research that didn't seem to go much anywhere...

Like Singularity, the (mostly) managed code OS. Would it have the potential to eventually replace the underpinnings of Windows?


Ah yes, I discussed this type of OS at length with Neolander, even before I'd heard about MS singularity. It had, in my opinion, the ability to host a microkernel without the overhead of kernel/userspace barriers. So I do think singularity could have had a lot of potential, but it probably could have endangered the windows monopoly so I'm not surprised they didn't promote it.

Or Photosynth, a novel way to view together photos of a particular location, "stitched" in a way together to show their relation in a ~3D space. At least this one was still ~alive and available to public last time I checked...


I saw that once many years ago, honestly I think alot of what they did at MSR was awesome. I'm quite jealous of those engineers actually: uninhibited by financial constraints or business objectives, at least within their bubble. Of course they have a terrible track record of bringing these things to consumers, and that's probably all microsoft's fault.

And my favourite, SenseCam - a camera that you wear on your chest, taking photos throughout the day on light/move/scene change, which can be later viewed in dedicated software to tell the "story" of each day. Perhaps too creepy to some. ;) But it did spur a ~commercial product, Autographer.


Pretty much like a security camera for your chest, haha. Interesting.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Be afraid
by zima on Sat 9th Dec 2017 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Be afraid"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Of course they have a terrible track record of bringing these things to consumers, and that's probably all microsoft's fault.

To be fair, Photosynth didn't fit very well with rest of MS offerings... (perhaps later with photo sharing functionality of Skydrive, errr, Onedrive? Probably still not enough public photos of same object to make it interesting) Now, if, say, Flickr developed something like this, the story might have been different.

Pretty much like a security camera for your chest, haha. Interesting.

Aye ...and I read once about a movement of sorts of "reverse survailance" ;) ("susvailance"?)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Phloptical
by Phloptical on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 00:14 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

Break up into, what? I’m all for the cessation of monopolies, but Facebook and Google? Facebook will eventually die. Google will remain as long as their web search remains the defacto web search that everyone’s grandmother has used. Maybe split googles hardware division, I guess.

The EU has bigger problems than the worlds favorite social media site, and US based data mining company.

Reply Score: 4

v Comment Title
by Dr.Cyber on Sun 3rd Dec 2017 13:53 UTC