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Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin  (Source: a beautiful gift/WordPress)
Odds of Google being split up are very slim

Google is an American company that started as a simple search engine and grew to a massive corporation with tentacles reaching all across the technology arena into other unrelated fields. The size of the company and money generated by Google and its advertising programs today make it a clear target for watchdog groups that maintain Google is a monopoly.

One watchdog group called Consumer Watchdog has asked the DOJ this week to break Google into smaller companies to prevent a monopoly situation along the lines of Microsoft. John M. Simpson from Consumer Watchdog is the person who made the request to the DOJ and he argues that the DOJ's actions against Google's attempts at buying other advertising firms and scanning books isn't enough to ensure the search giant doesn't turn into a monopoly.

Simpson wrote in a letter to the DOJ, "Google exerts monopoly power over Internet searches, controlling 70 percent of the U.S. market. For most Americans – indeed, for most people in the world – Google is the gateway to the Internet. How it tweaks its proprietary search algorithms can ensure a business's success or doom it to failure."

The fact that search rankings on Google can make or break a company is no theory. Each time Google algorithms change retailers around the world moan over last rankings. Once a retailer is off the first page of results the chances of searchers clicking becomes much smaller.

EWeek rightfully points out that the major flaw with Simpson's argument is that Google doesn't force anyone to use its services; it just happens to be the most popular service around. Google also lets users leave anytime they want and take their data with them when they go. Another factor that hurts Simpson's idea of a split up Google is the fact the DOJ didn’t split up Microsoft when asked by advocates, and Microsoft has been convicted of anti-competitive practices in the past. Google has so far never been formally accused of anti-competitive practices, though some major companies like AT&T have accused Google of being anti-competitive.

Simpson also alleges that Google purposefully tweaks its algorithms to keep other businesses down and serve its own interests. Google has long maintained that algorithm changes are nothing more than an attempt to give users more accurate and useful search results.

Simpson outlined his plans for breaking Google up in the letter sent to the DOJ, "Gmail and its new social networking service, Buzz, could be spun off as a separate entity as could YouTube, a Google acquisition that we believe should have been denied at the time of merger. Enterprise applications could be another separate business."

A Google spokesperson told 
eWeek, "We totally understand that with size and success comes scrutiny. Although given their track record, even if we broke Google in half tomorrow, Consumer Watchdog would probably insist that we split halves into quarters."

Google is a huge company, but if the company was broken up as suggested by Simpson many of the services simply don’t generate the revenue needed to continue operating. Google's massively successful advertising program underwrites most of the free services like Gmail and Buzz.



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The thing is...
By PitViper007 on 4/22/2010 11:24:01 AM , Rating: 2
It isn't illegal to have a monopoly in the U.S. What IS illegal is to use that monopoly to edge out competitors in other markets. I suppose you may be able to say that Google, in having their services available to the masses for free, could be doing that, but ALL their consumer based services are free. Or, to be more precise, their consumer based services are AD SPONSORED. No matter how you look at it though, Google would have to do a lot more in the "bad column" to warrant a DOJ breakup, especially if you take the precedent of Microsoft.




RE: The thing is...
By theapparition on 4/22/2010 1:03:31 PM , Rating: 3
Very close, but not entirely correct. It is illegal for the monopolistic status to hurt consumers , not competitors. An argument can be made that lack of competition can hurt consumers, but a direct correlation would have to be established.

US Anti-Monopoly laws are to protect citizens, not other companies; a tenant that the EU decides to ignore.


RE: The thing is...
By PitViper007 on 4/23/2010 2:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for the clarification. You are correct. When a competitor brings an anti-trust complaint up, they do it in the name of the consumers. Though, in cases such as the current Intel/AMD one, the results could end up benefiting the competitors.


RE: The thing is...
By AssBall on 4/22/2010 3:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
People just can't stand it when a company competes successfully, I guess. Sounds more like whining than a real initiative.


"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)














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