Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Feb 2018 23:06 UTC
In the News

In other words, it's very likely you love Google, or are at least fond of Google, or hardly think about Google, the same way you hardly think about water systems or traffic lights or any of the other things you rely on every day. Therefore you might have been surprised when headlines began appearing last year suggesting that Google and its fellow tech giants were threatening everything from our economy to democracy itself. Lawmakers have accused Google of creating an automated advertising system so vast and subtle that hardly anyone noticed when Russian saboteurs co-opted it in the last election. Critics say Facebook exploits our addictive impulses and silos us in ideological echo chambers. Amazon’s reach is blamed for spurring a retail meltdown; Apple's economic impact is so profound it can cause market-wide gyrations. These controversies point to the growing anxiety that a small number of technology companies are now such powerful entities that they can destroy entire industries or social norms with just a few lines of computer code. Those four companies, plus Microsoft, make up America's largest sources of aggregated news, advertising, online shopping, digital entertainment and the tools of business and communication. They're also among the world's most valuable firms, with combined annual revenues of more than half a trillion dollars.

The recent focus on technology companies when it comes to corporate power is definitely warranted, but I do find it a little peculiar that it, at the same time, draws attention away from other sectors where giant corporations are possibly doing even more damage to society, like large oil companies and the environment, or the concentration of media companies.

One has to wonder if the recent aggressive focus on tech companies isn't entirely natural.

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RE[6]: Google is not a monpoly
by jonsmirl on Thu 22nd Feb 2018 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Google is not a monpoly"
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Another detail is that the USA is mostly concerned with protecting companies from other companies while the EU is more concerned with protecting consumers from companies.

I believe it is the opposite of this. That was a main point in the original article -- it is difficult to accuse Google of anti-trust in the US if you can't demonstrate consumers are being harmed.

Note -- in the Microsoft case it was utterly obvious that consumers were being harmed. At one point I had 32 unwanted copies of Windows that I had been forced to buy with PCs that were used for other operating systems. I refused to agree to the EULA on all of them but of course Microsoft would not give a refund. At that point in time the only way to get a refund was to take Microsoft to small claims court.

The EU action against Google was the opposite of this. There was no evidence of consumer harm, consumer prices were actually lower on Google shopping. This was 100% about Google's impact on other companies.

And as to that impact, I think the EU's first made the decision to extract a few billion out of Google and then made up some flimsy arguments to support that preordained decision. It it total manure that they defined the market to exclude Ebay and Amazon from the competitive analysis.

Edited 2018-02-22 16:44 UTC

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