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Is Google really a small company like it insists? Or is it merely a company that dominates fairly? These questions will become important as the U.S. considers antitrust action against Google.  (Source: TechFreep)
Google insists it "does no evil" and isn't a monopoly

While Microsoft and Intel are often singled out for potential antitrust violations -- within the U.S. and internationally -- there's another equally dominant company that has thus far mostly escaped antitrust litigation: Google.  Estimated to own around 65 percent market share in the U.S. (similar to Internet Explorer's market share in the browser market), and as much as 70 to 80 percent of the international market, Google undoubtedly has the dominant position in the market.

The question is whether it is abusing that dominance.  According to allegations both from the government and private parties it has.  In the private legal realm, a major suit alleges Google used predatory pricing tactics to kill a business-to-business search engine.  On the government side outgoing Bush antitrust chief, Christine Varney, taken on by the Obama administration, says Google "has acquired a monopoly in internet online advertising."  She says the government has been too "lax" in enforcement, and hints that will soon change if she has her way.

Google is fighting back.  It has hired Dana Wagner, a former Department of Justice antitrust lawyer, who can help it craft a defense.  It has also become increasingly vocal through spokesman Adam Kovacevich.  The pair is trumpeting the company's "don't be evil" philosophy and charitable works.  They also are claiming that it only commands a 2.66 percent market share in the "total" market it competes in.

Google insists that the internet advertising market is not separate from the real world advertising market.  So it controls only 2.66 percent of all advertising, online and off.  Google believes in this respect it’s a small company just trying to get by.  States Ms. Wagner, "We need to move past intuitive market definitions and actually look at how consumers, advertisers and publishers are shifting their spending.  

The move argues Microsoft's 1990s insistence that it didn't have a monopoly. And internet advertising is a very different beast in theory and practice from offline advertising, with such concepts as targeted ads and traffic based revenue. Still, while Google's attempt to broaden the market it sits in may put some off, it still has a solid argument that it just is a very successful company trouncing the competition on the fair and level.

Lawyers point to U.S. v. Aluminum Co. of America 64 years ago, an important business victory, which saw the court ruling against the government and acknowledging that the company had "superior skill, foresight, and industry (to competitors)."

Perhaps because of this the government has yet to go after Google directly. It currently has several Google probes -- an investigation of Google's book scanning deal, a probe into whether Google CEO Eric Schmidt's relationship with Apple was improper, and a multi-company probe into tech corporations and hiring.  Gary Reback, an attorney for Carr & Ferrell, who helped the government find Microsoft guilty in the 1990s, however, warns Google to be careful what it does.  He states, "(The government) won't punish you for being successful. But if you're a monopolist and you spit on the sidewalk, (it will) break up your company."





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