We'll ignore your more speculative thoughts about the failed PFI model (you do remember Inktomi, right?)
The Google "equal opportunity" is hardly equal, and is showing far less opportunity as organic results are pushed below the fold on many searches, AdWords accounts are being shut down, and AdSense earnings show signs of caps, or in some cases decline regardless of traffic. In fact, there is a growing chorus of concern about Google on many fronts, IP rights just being one area.
Unintended consequences of the Google model are rife. At the least we should consider the impact on linking (once a source of traffic, now a source of rankings), the now ubiquitous "nofollow" tag (with which Google tries to force publishers to de-monetize their sites), ads, ads, everywhere ads, etc. etc. We might also consider any number of once viable businesses that have gone under through Google's acquisition and provide it "free" program, or the seemingly now frowned upon affiliate marketer. Of course, nothing is free. Users pay by a not always positive transformation of the Internet and the sacrifice of a great deal of very valuable personal and behavioral data , and publishers pay through the erosion of their IP rights.
You are correct that this is a fundamental difference of philosophy. I look forward to a return of competition to the Internet, and I look forward to some clarification as to exactly who is who in the continuum of client, customer, content provider, user, servant and master. (Frankly, I don't think Google is even clear on who is who in their model, as exemplified by their near total lack of "customer service" to their paying customers.) Mostly, I look forward to netizens being able to function without fear of displeasing the Gorg. I am not yet ready to be assimilated.
If Google is bruised in the coming months, it won't be because there were not warning signs. Google has, in my opnion, developed a severe case of hubris over the past couple of years - I think it was about the time they changed the use of nofollow that my attitudes began changing. Perhaps they need a "slap" (as in Google slap) to wake up to that fact.