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Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, Dares To Call Google A Monopoly

     
2:34 pm on Sep 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft unveiled its new Bing logo and design this week, and yesterday CEO Steve Ballmer opted to highlight his concerns over Google's business practices. During a presentation at Microsoft's financial analysts meeting, Ballmer discussed how Microsoft might generate money in consumer services. "Google does it," he noted. "They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with." Asked by an analyst how Microsoft can attack Google's dominance in search and advertising, Ballmer explained "we're the only guys in the world trying," with the Bing search engine.Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, Dares To Call Google A Monopoly [theverge.com]


Ballmer acknowledges it's an uphill struggle. "So if we have exactly the same quality of algorithms, but a lot less scale in search advertising, we will get less revenue per search than Google does, which means they have more money to pay for distribution on Samsung devices, or Apple," says Ballmer. "So we have to generate volume in order to step up."
Ballmer didn't dig into his concerns over YouTube or Google Maps, but he made Microsoft's opinion very clear. "I think they need pressure from competition authority. I think they need pressure in the marketplace."
9:11 pm on Sept 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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:: insert boilerplate about pots and kettles ::

Seriously, I think everyone would like it better if the #2 search engine belonged to someone other than a Top Ten monopoly in its own right.

"I think they need pressure from competition authority. I think they need pressure in the marketplace."

Can't argue with that. Besides: corner too much of the market and you start getting hit with increased regulation and/or enforced fragmentation (think Bell).
4:55 pm on Sept 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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...corner too much of the market and you start getting hit with increased regulation and/or enforced fragmentation (think Bell).


Or Standard Oil, for that matter.
11:21 am on Sept 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Even if Google did have a monopoly in search and advertising (they don't IMHO), that as such is nothing wrong in itself. Just as it's not wrong for MSFT to have held a OS monopoly, nor hold an office suite monopoly.
Why don't I agree Google has a monopoly: for starters esp. in advertising there IS competition, and they're not doing badly. Sure they're overshadowed by Google, but Google has no retention system in place that locks in any user of their services. E.g. you can search on any other search engine even if you/your collaborators/your customer/your suppliers/... use Google search. Similar for advertising: no exclusivity, no long lasting contracts, ...
One can't say the same of e.g. MS Office.

A monopoly can also turn sour if the one holding it can capture all of the market and can lock the customers in and then start to charge any price they want. But even when Google held more market share in search than they do today, they never have shown any tendency to do that.

The problem is when a monopoly holding company abuses their monopoly position to e.g. create an unfair advantage in another market. Like that of browsers, music players, by forcing others in that new market out off the market because the monopolist abuses their monopoly to e.g. give it for free in order to destroy the existing market.

Now which of GOOG or MSFT did get convicted over abuse of monopolies and which got hit with record breaking fines over the abuse of monopolies .... better "google" it if you fail to remember.

SO IMHO it's not about the pot and kettle. There's only one of the two that's clearly doing the wrong thing and it ain't GOOG. And if you think I'm biassed: I'd suggest to take an objective measure by looking at convictions and fines relating to monopoly abuse.
12:44 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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To say that Google has no retention system in place that locks in any user of their services comes across as a bit unrealistic in the real world. There is a huge amount of lock-in with their myriad of products and services (many free) even if it isn't explicitly stated, as it used to be in the AdSense TOS (which have since been loosened). The European Union is now investigating this and it will be interesting to see what their opinion is.
7:00 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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To say that Google has no retention system in place that locks in any user of their services comes across as a bit unrealistic in the real world.

Please explain how Google has a retention system for search or for Adwords (the two products that they likely have a majority of the market) ?
7:37 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Now which of GOOG or MSFT did get convicted over abuse of monopolies and which got hit with record breaking fines over the abuse of monopolies .... better "google" it if you fail to remember.


I don't have to Google it because I remember most of those cases where Msoft was seen as a Golden Goose ripe for milking if you could fabricate an argument.

If you do care to perform a search you will find that Google has been in trouble for a lot more "real" infringments.
8:07 am on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'd suggest to take an objective measure by looking at convictions and fines relating to monopoly abuse

This is a new definition of "objective measure" which I had not previously encountered.
1:18 pm on Sept 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So you guys think it's more objective to have the CEO of a convicted company claim a non-convicted is as bad or worse than they are ?

WTF happened to innocent till proven guilty ? (proven as proven in court, not in the press)
2:16 am on Sept 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft has never been charged or convicted of being a monopoly in search. The comment Ballmer made was in relation to the search engine Google, which, as stated, Bing is seemingly the only major competitor in the market.

Apparently it's easy for many to see the correlation of Google's multi-market dominance in the same light as some saw Microsoft's dominance with OSs and browsers in the past that was investigated and regulated.
9:44 am on Sept 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft has never been charged or convicted of being a monopoly in search.

1. Nobody claimed that.

2. There's nothing wrong with having a monopoly as such. E.g. Anybody who creates a market for a unique product initially has a monopoly!

3. Where regulators, courts, fines etc. come in is when one is abusing a monopoly. This can be either in the market itself (unfairly creating contracts with suppliers or customers to lock them in and keep competitors out, allowing for unreasonable pricing) or to expand the monopoly in another market where one doesn't (yet) have a monopoly, by either breaking the market or forcing customers to get your stuff there too cause they have no choice as they need what you offer in your monopoly, ...

4. what gets investigated and reported in the press, what goes to court etc. is all subject to politics ... [the rules out here make it impossible to discuss that part here].


Apparently it's easy for many to see the correlation of Google's multi-market dominance in the same light as some saw Microsoft's dominance with OSs and browsers in the past that was investigated and regulated.

That's what MSFT, Mr. Ballmer and the fanboys want of course.
But the key difference is that the monopoly (if there is one in the first place) as such is not the problem. It is the ABUSE of the monopoly that's the problem !
5:02 pm on Oct 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Where regulators, courts, fines etc. come in is when one is abusing a monopoly


A recall a case where a Linux users group somewhre in Europe based their claim against Microsoft on the fact that they could not buy a computer without Windows software already installed.

The claim was lame and a joke, especially when considering that most Linux users prefer to build their own computers. I don't recall the outcome but I if they didn't win a payout, rubbish claims like this are then used to support other weak claims and so on.

Now compare that folly with the serious damage that Google has inflicted on every business that trades on the Internet. Then for dessert try the piracy, plagiarism and privacy breaches that they have been convicted of in many countries!
7:09 am on Oct 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Selling one product only with another is called bundling, and it against competition/anti-trust laws throughout the world. You apparently want a special exemption for MS and their partners.

Claiming "most" Linux users prefer to build their own computers is plain silly.