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Google Becoming "Giant Monopoly" - German Minister
Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 3:11 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reuters [izurl.com]

Internet search engine Google Inc is becoming a "giant monopoly" like Microsoft and could face legal action if it does not become more transparent, Germany's justice minister said.

In an interview with weekly magazine Der Spiegel Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said she was concerned the firm was accruing too much power and information about citizens via programmes like Google Earth and Google Books.

"All in all, what's taking shape there to a large extent is a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft," the minister said.

That is a fairly aggressive statement from a high ranking political official. Sure seems like the antitrust/monopoly arguments are coming up much more than any time in the past.

 

walkman



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 3:17 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Germans rule EU, especially when the French don't oppose them, so their word is golden. And Google has very few friends in that $15 Trillion economy

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 3:34 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is like watching Fox News.

albo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 4:05 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can sense der deutschen angst, though

IanCP

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:51 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is like watching Fox News

Sure you don't mean "Faux News"?

Either way, it'll be interesting how this story eventually pans out. Most likely a storm in a-tea-cup as politicians milk it for all it's worth and the idiot media dutifully comply.

If I were Mr. Google, I wouldn't be losing any sleep.

That's a fact.

Brett, a non-event.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:10 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree it's not an event. Now, putting on my HuggyBear platform shoes, the view from the street is that it's part of a trend that has gone past the hump called nascent trend and can be more accurately described as a growing trend.

Should Google be concerned when government officials begin to question Google? Should Google be concerned about how the public may perceive Google when bogeymen like Microsoft, the ones we're supposed to fear as monopolist grabbers, are themselves fearing Google? Should Google be concerned when an organization like the Electronic Frontiers Foundation [eff.org] have themselves raised concerns about Google?

What follows is constructive criticism, said in the spirit of helping. In the past Google and many Googlers have been on the right side, deserving of praise. It would be nice for them to continue to be that way. Individual Googlers I have met are really cool people. However, while I agree it's not an event, it does look like a trend.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:47 am (utc) on Jan. 10, 2010]

walkman



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:26 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Either way, it'll be interesting how this story eventually pans out. Most likely a storm in a-tea-cup as politicians milk it for all it's worth and the idiot media dutifully comply.

If I were Mr. Google, I wouldn't be losing any sleep.


I am sure if google thought like you they would have been out of business already!
[google.com...]

true_INFP

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:53 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Germans rule EU

No, they don't (not even "unoficially"). They may be highly influential in the EU, but they definitely do not rule it (thanks to the way the EU works, no single country can rule it (officially or otherwise).

Anyway, this is a major event. The EU is very powerful when dealing with monopolies. Just read the Microsoft vs. EU history. The latest example being that users in the EU will be able to select a browser in Windows (a browser ballot screen, which should be distributed even via auto-update to WinXP users).

As I live in the EU, I'm looking forward to Google being more privacy-friendly and less monopolistic, at least here in the EU.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 9:36 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

No, they don't (not even "unoficially"). They may be highly influential in the EU, but they definitely do not rule it (thanks to the way the EU works, no single country can rule it (officially or otherwise).

Wow, took my words literally. US doesn't (or didn't) rule the world either..

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 11:09 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like Microsoft , Google will have worked out their strategy years ago on anti trust issues , albeit they may be way more complex than MS. But sooner or later those cases will start to mount and be backed by many business' that see themselves disadvantaged by G.

And that could be a lot of momentum. However , nothing could stop MS's continuing dominance once they had finished off the competition , why Google ?

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 11:12 am on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

The EU is very powerful when dealing with monopolies. Just read the Microsoft vs. EU history. The latest example being that users in the EU will be able to select a browser in Windows (a browser ballot screen, which should be distributed even via auto-update to WinXP users).

MS got a slap on the wrist instead of massive fines and punitive damages assessed for the parties harmed, like the non-existent Netscape browser.

That's powerful?

I'm quaking in my boots.

Not like the US did any better as MS should've been split a long time ago IMO.

So based on history, Google should be very (un)afraid.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:04 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wow, took my words literally.

walkman, I know you meant it in the sense of they "rock" or they are "top dog", but talk about Germany ruling Europe could be inflamatory to a lot of people many of whom were around during WWII.

Thanks for flagging this, Brett, but, like incrediBILL, I think the given enough money anybody can be bought, German and EU politicians included. If Google turns around, for example, and says they're expanding their Europe operations and are going to employ 50,000 people on a new project, you'll hear a different song from the same minister.

Seb7

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:18 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

MS got a slap on the wrist instead of massive fines

I thought the EU gave MS a few massive fines?

petra

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:20 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Regardless of whether or not this is a event/nonevent, the fact that Google is now officially being seen as a monopoly is huge. From the company who's original motto was "do no evil" this is bound to hurt them one way or another.

albo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:49 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

From what I saw in Wikipedia, the (informal) GOOG corporate motto is "Don't be evil", not "Do no evil". A small, but important, semantic difference. (I've heard it said that GOOG "does know evil.")

[edited by: albo at 7:54 pm (utc) on Jan. 10, 2010]

Future

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 7:51 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Great sign of google growing :)

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:20 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

MSFT did NOT get slapped for having a monopoly, they got slapped with record breaking fines for ABUSING their monopolies to create new ones.

There is -as far as I know- nothing wrong with having a de-facto monopoly, just don't abuse it to create more of them. I've not seen any evidence -aside of the typical whining about Google out here- that Google is abusing their monopolies to create more of them in an anti-competitive manner.

Collecting information is in another league: privacy laws in the EU are far more strict than anything in the US. There the question would be if Google is still to be considered a US company or not. The more they become a collection of EU based company (e.g. my contract for adsense nowadays is with Google Ireland, not Google US), the more they'll have to obey our privacy laws as well and not be able to hide behind the allowances for US companies anymore.

But politicians hardly are to be expected to know the laws ... they get elected.

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:23 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Don't be evil
Should be read as "Don't be MSFT" ...
incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:43 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I thought the EU gave MS a few massive fines?

Not massive enough to stop their behavior all these years and not nearly enough to compensate the victims of their predatory practices that are no longer in the browser business.

When you have as much money as MS, the penalties have to cause excruciating pain in order to get faster compliance.

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:46 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

> There is -as far as I know- nothing wrong with
> having a de-facto monopoly, just don't abuse
> it to create more of them.

The problem with that is that google is such a closed empire, that it is difficult to determine how abusive they have been.

Lots of questions abound:
- Did they go after affiliate program participants because they were competitors?
- Has Google adjusted it's algo to manipulate the composition of the entire internet in it's favor? Rewarding friends, and penalizing percieved enemies?
- Has google used Google news to remove competition?
- Appears to me that Google did to the analytics industry what Microsoft did to the browser industry.

Those types of questions are never ending. Googles actions with the algo and serps are much more covert than others monopolies' anticompetitive actions.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:59 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't think the Germans rule the EU, the EU is reasonably balanced. I think France started this all off and the Germans are backing them up.

And think on this, both those economies are in dire straits. And what do politicians do when they muck up their economies? Divert attention elsewhere, find another area to detract attention from their failings.

That's exactly what happening here. It's a storm in a teacup, the only interest is that they are attacking Google as opposed to anyone else. That says a lot about Google's success.

true_INFP

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 9:11 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not massive enough [fines] to stop their behavior all these years

The fines (whether threatened or ordered) were so massive that Microsoft complied with each and every requirement that the EU has had, so far. That is good enough for me.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 9:14 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Like Brett said, Google is a conspiracy theorists dream. I'll add:
Do they manipulate Serps sometime to increase adwords revenue? A small change in the algo can do that :)
Do they promote their local search, youtube etc by using their 70% search share?

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 9:19 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Appears to me that Google did to the analytics industry what Microsoft did to the browser industry.

What Microsoft did was bundle their poor excuse for a browser with their monopoly holding OS. To add injury to insult, they made it so that you hardly can uninstall the damned thing at all (the integration defense in the US is about as silly as it gets: NT didn't have the forced IE install till around SP4, and you could upgrade to beyond SP4 without getting IE, as long as you started from a pre-SP4 CD).
And that's the core of their row with the EU commission: abuse of a monopoly.

Where is Google Analytics forced onto a webmaster even if they don't want it ?

On the contrary: there used to be more demand for an analytics account than they were ready to let us have, creating a system where one had to apply for an account and then be patient till they had the capacity for giving you one ...

There's nothing wrong with being good at what you do, there's something wrong in the methods of MSFT, something Google just hasn't done. And wanting them to fail doesn't make them fail, no matter how hard you want it.

The "slap Google with a tax movement" started in France is about copyright holders wanting more revenue though taxes (like they did out here on every harddisk sold from February on) as a way to get more income to offset their completely failing sales of CDs.
Unfortunately these groups are way too powerful as a lobby group. And politicians still don't see the light ...

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 4:20 am on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

What Microsoft did was bundle their poor excuse for a browser with their monopoly holding OS. To add injury to insult, they made it so that you hardly can uninstall the damned thing at all (the integration defense in the US is about as silly as it gets: NT didn't have the forced IE install till around SP4, and you could upgrade to beyond SP4 without getting IE, as long as you started from a pre-SP4 CD). And that's the core of their row with the EU commission: abuse of a monopoly.

So, to use the same argument, we can expect a choice of browsers for Google Chrome OS? Or did Google do it the right way from the start, tying their OS and their browser to such an extent so that they are one and the same?

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 4:33 am on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

There's nothing wrong with being good at what you do, there's something wrong in the methods of MSFT, something Google just hasn't done.

Hogwash.

Google was never good at analytics, they bought it.

Google was never good at being a video service, they bought it.

Google was never good at making a phone OS, they bought it.

If buying things is being good at something, they excel in it.

Google and MSFT are both guilty of buying products from a highly competitive market and giving them away thus destroying all the competition and the marketplace.

They are also guilty of bundling everything together to choke out competition such as the Android phone limiting choices with pre-installed browser, gmail, etc. etc. and the same tactic on Android table devices and supposedly even Chrome OS or whatever it's called but they certainly don't do what MS does, oh noooo.... ;)

If that's not abuse of a monopoly I sure as heck don't know what it is because nobody other than the 800lb corporate monopoly gorilla can afford to give away what people are willing to pay for in order to destroy a marketplace.

Google is *NOT* any different than MSFT regardless of their motto.

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 5:03 am on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

>Google was never good at analytics, they bought it.

Which was a commercial product that (just like microsoft killing netscape) they gave away for free. Google has strongly pushed GA with adw/ads. They have also pushed it in the seo community.

Microsofts sin was that there simply wasn't a viable competitor other than netscape. In hindsight, bundling the browser with the OS was the right thing to do.

>If buying things is being good at something, they excel in it

People have been calling Google a one-trick-pony for awhile now. Their second trick could be in acquisition; but, unless your first trick works long term, the second trick doesn't either (as you run out of money to buy stuff).

zett

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 9:07 am on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

as you run out of money to buy stuff

Ho-hom. This seems not to be an issue with Gooooogle who have seemingly endless cash to buy up any promising (or not so promising) start-up or unpleasant rival.

Other than that, I think the changing sentiment towards Google is good and long overdue. You know, when politicians (!) finally start to notice things, then it must be really bad. :-)

The well respected German magazine DER SPIEGEL runs a cover story on Google this week. This WILL get some traction in Europe. Good. Very good.

aleksl



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 2:55 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

A non-event.

true_INFP: The EU is very powerful when dealing with monopolies.

:) lol

Basically, what this says is: euro oligopolies acknoledge that Google has created a monopoly. We oppose any monopolies that threaten our monopolies. But if Google plays nice and gives us a chunk, we'll accept it into family of oligopolies".

I don't think the Germans rule the EU, the EU is reasonably balanced.

non-political forum, so I'll be quick. neither Germany, nor mentioned above France do, as defined in "sovereign countries with elected by people oficials". EU is ruled mostly from benelux by a bunch of "3rd Rome", king-blood families, like habsburgs, and banksters like rothschild. it is basically a panel of oligarchs. politicians in countries are paid for.

moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4057575 posted 8:32 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

well, right. google is already abusing its monopoly in so far as it buys companies and gives costly stuff away for free afterwards. one could argue that it's nice, because the consumer is the winner, it increases overall benefit. but that's short sighted. regarded more exactly, this kind of behavior actually weakens the economy. unrelated market places are destroyed because google can afford, as it is cross-subsidized by adwords.
it means happy consumers. but at the end of the day it also means shrinking profits, unemployment, social conflicts. so google bashing is right imo.

on the other hand: everyone and his dog is passing his own deficiencies on google. the company is blamed for a whole lot more or less unrelated own incapabilies (see print press, see politics). many who fail to adapt to the new market conditions see google as the sole enemy and a cheap excuse, overlooking that society simply has changed by the use of online.

so we have to properly classify the different motivations to bash. well founded criticism or scapegoat for own deficiencies.

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