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Is It Time to Break Up Google?

     
7:52 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

[nytimes.com...]
At some point any company that gets "that big" will end up with government looking over their shoulder.
8:05 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is It Time to Break Up Google
Wasn't that one of the reasons for the creation of Alphabet... for Google to break itself up proactively and avoid any Gov't pressure down the line.
8:49 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is not independent of Alphabet, and g's continued acquisition of competing technologies is, by itself, of concern to potential regulators.
9:38 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well good luck to the regulators. It took 8 years to actually break up AT&T and they're bigger now than they've ever been.
9:53 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wonder if you read the article or are merely commenting on the thread topic.

There's a lot more involved than "breaking up". From the article (and how it might apply to g if it is deemed a common carrier, a form of legal monopoly, and the constraints that involves):

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google’s route to dominance is different from the Bell System’s. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.


If the breakup includes g giving up its patents and research that's a big deal. Later in the article is the standing premise, which remains as true today as it did back then:

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, “If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government.” We ignore his words at our peril.
10:00 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Wonder if you read the article or are merely commenting on the thread topic.
Commenting on the thread topic. That's allowed right :)

Actually NYT won't let me read very far since I've run out of free articles a while back. Have to wait till the 1st of the month.
2:40 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A couple years ago Google owned about 99+% of mobile search. Take a look at where mobile is and where it's headed. Look at who run Android. Looking at that "issue" might be a start. No regulators or highly educated politicians understand the landscape. Many SEO's don't see past their own self interests. Things are being exploited, but that's the nature of corporations and greed. The government figuring this out? LOL. Nobody has dealt with this type of scale. Never happened before. It will be easy to look at the mistakes after the fact. This needs to get far worse and naturally it will. Regulators are a joke. The many laws that can be exploited by scale can't change because the "system" is old school and takes a total collapse before the brilliant ones figure it out. Here is where the OP steps in and lectures about reading the story or we can't have an opinion. We can't swear here, so I'll just leave it at that.
4:05 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Opinions always welcome .... those with substance are even more welcome.

g is no bigger than Bell or the railroads were in their heyday. Both were cut down to size and the pieces flourished separately. It is the nature of big fish to keep eating until something even bigger slaps 'em down. Government is, so far, the biggest fish anywhere.
6:06 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Anyone who thinks Google is comparable to anything that has existed previously? My discussion ends there. I hope you aren't making decisions in the world that matter. The scope of this domination is nothing close to anything that's existed before. One word: data. In a way I wish there was an open forum where one could speak freely in language that's free and open, but I digress.
12:05 am on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Monopoly can exist in any form. g is comparable to past monopolies. Regulators who might decide to check g's monopoly have several avenues of approach, which does make it a little special in that regard.

As for language, it depends on what "free and open" means. Profanity, ad hominem, and straw man arguments aren't useful or desired, but anything else should be appropriate.
5:39 pm on Apr 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the other posters that its unlikely that regulation is gonna occur - especially with this current administration but also because I think its the wrong political time (just in general) ... the article is very US focused but I think that is something governments are wrangling with globally with these same companies(because as MrSavage pointed out, no one really gets it) and we're in an era of globalization..
Sometimes I wonder if we're at a crest of a great and glorious wave ...and if like the two previous eras , if the wave will roll back like the two previous era of globalization (we're in the third one, the first two being colonialism, and pre WWI); all occurred concomitantly with big improvements in technology, and those eras ended

I read Peter Thiels book (mentioned at the end of the article), where he argues that monopoly is good and benefits the people within the monopoly...but what about those outside of the monopoly....just like google and facebook screw publishers i.e. those outside of the monopoly, you can only maintain that for so long before the wave rolls back? I sometimes wonder how people at publisher companies feel about featured rich snippets...and stuff like AMP, etc ...even in theils book, he says (or from what I recall strongly implies that the state of monopoly cannot be sustained forever) because once you're a monopoly you eventually stop innovating, also the culture changes, startup nimbleness gives way to bureaucracy, leading to the loss of monopoly. ...Although not a perfect example, it was interesting to watch Amazon eat Googles lunch with shopping :P