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Google is coming under increasing scrutiny thanks to its market dominance

When it comes to antitrust concerns, one name typically springs to mind -- Microsoft. The massive software company has faced allegations of blocking competition repeatedly over the years. Microsoft isn’t alone in fighting antitrust issues in America and some view Google as the next possible monopoly.

Reuters reports that Google is more than a successful technology company; it's a cultural icon as well. With the size and dominance of the search and advertising giant, the government is increasingly looking at Google to be sure that none of its practices are stifling competition in the market.

Evan Stewart of Zuckerman Spaeder said, "The point is that if we're going to maintain that competitive position, it can't be because we allow one entity to become a complete monopolist."

One example of the increasing scrutiny Google is under, despite the fact that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is an outspoken Obama supporter, is the alleged investigation into Google and Apple board members. The government is looking closely at the deal Google has brokered with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers that would allow it to create a huge online library as well.

Google so far has been reluctant to raise the ire of regulators and has chosen to walk away from deals with potential antitrust issues. One example is Google walking away from the Yahoo search partnership when regulators said that investigation and opposition to the deal might be warranted.

No one is saying that Google has done wrong at this point, merely that the company could become a monopoly with its aggressive plans and market dominance.

Google's Adam Kovacevich said, "We understand that any time a company is successful, there's a certain degree of scrutiny that comes with the territory."

Bert Foer, head of the American Antitrust Institute told Reuters, "It's not that Google has necessarily done anything wrong. It's not that it's bad or poorly intentioned. It's playing such a large role in the flow of information and has so much free cash to play with and so many creative and aggressive ideas that it presents potential problems regarding... privacy and competition."

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RE: Time to break them up
By Xavier434 on 5/8/2009 2:31:29 PM , Rating: 5
You might be right. I am not certain which is why I mentioned in my original post that I really don't now if this is a bad thing or not yet. Here is the potential problem with your theory:

Unlike the rules of competition between a lot of other comparable products and services, Google and search engines in general rely a lot more on people's comfort. The features and quality of service is very important too, but comfort is where it is all at. What happens when you are dealing with this kind of industry is that making a "better" product is often not enough to be competitive even if the existence of your product becomes common knowledge. The reason is that even though your product/service might technically be better than the "other guy" it is the users that ultimately decide and they more often than not choose to stick with what makes them comfortable. For most users, that choice "feels" like higher quality regardless of the reality. The same cannot be said about many other types of products and services out there. None have as much power that Google does over the economy and people's lives in general either...except for maybe Windows.

However, you are spot on when you talk about the possibilities of Google "screwing up". Google could change things suddenly or even little by little which results in people comfort with their search engine and other products to decline. After enough time, people will be more willing and flexible to try something else and before you know it all of these people are now comfortable with another product.

The issue here is that all of the power lies in the hands of Google. They have to "screw up" in order for another company/product to have enough room to compete. Making a "better" product, while necessary, just isn't enough. Does that make Google a monopoly? I don't know. I do know that it is not standard competition in a free market though. The rules are different. Similar rules apply with Windows and IE.

RE: Time to break them up
By Motoman on 5/8/2009 2:48:33 PM , Rating: 3
Points taken, but I don't think Google "has" to screw up in order to let someone else take the limelight.

I don't think Yahoo necessarily screwed up when Google zoomed past them.

All it might take is one teenaged ZOMG u totly hv 2 chk this out is rox! for the next big thing to take off.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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