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Size Doesn't Matter: The Question Is Whether Google Hurts Consumers

from the big-isn't-automatically-bad dept

With the Google Senate hearings yesterday, we noted that the inquisitors seemed to focus on the fact that Google is big as if that is a problem. Senator Franken specifically made that point: the "bigness" of Google is a concern. And, certainly, it is true that big companies tend to be more able to use their position to make decisions that are harmful to consumers. But that's a correlation, not a causal relationship -- and just because a company is big, doesn't mean it's automatically doing bad things. Mathew Ingram has the most insightful analysis I've seen so far of the hearings, in which he analyzes the points raised, and whether or not there's been any evidence of Google actually harming consumers. What struck me was how Senator Blumenthal specifically asked if Google would make its own product less functional. Why would it want to do that? That seems like the exact opposite of what an antitrust investigation should be about. As Ingram notes:
The hard part comes when Barnett says that Google’s dominance in these areas affects consumers because they will face higher prices and reduced innovation. This is the core of an antitrust case (which the Senate hearing isn’t technically part of, but which is currently underway at the Federal Trade Commission and possibly the Justice Department as well, since both share responsibility for antitrust). It’s not enough that a company like Google has a dominant or even monopolistic market position — as judge Learned Hand has written: “The successful competitor, having been urged to compete, must not be turned on when he wins.”

And it’s not even enough to argue that a company with a monopoly is using that position unfairly. It has to be proven that consumers or the marketplace as a whole are being harmed by that behavior, either through higher prices or reduced choice, or both.

The problem with a company like Google — as opposed to a company like Microsoft, the last major antitrust investigation in the technology sphere — is that users don’t actually pay for the vast majority of its products and services. Microsoft’s behavior arguably affected physical goods like computers and software, which people had to pay for. What does Google’s behavior affect? I’m not paying any more to use Google Maps than I would to use some other service, nor am I paying more to use Yelp because it has somehow been disadvantaged by Google’s attempts to “scrape” its content for local recommendations.
Certainly, "big" companies may become companies that abuse their position and harm consumers, but nowhere has anyone shown any actual evidence of harm. To date, the focus has basically been on the fact that Google is big... and on how some competitors don't like it that they can't keep up. But the evidence of higher prices? Just not there.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    Instead of paying $2 * $0 = $0 , with Google you're paying $4 * $0 = $0. That's twice as much as you would be paying had the government intervened and corrected their monopolistic behavior. We need the government to regulate.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 7:36pm

    Re:

    and may I add that that's the cost per search.

     

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  3.  
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    abc gum, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:00pm

    Why is congress chasing BS allegations when they most definitely have more pressing issues to address? It's no wonder this planet is in the shitter, just look at who is in charge.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:01pm

    Standard Oil, Ma Bell, Google. Where now is the refrain of "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    we're not google's customers

    we're the product that google sells. The customers that any google anti-trust conversation must deal with are the advertisers.

     

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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:05pm

    Search Google for Search Engines.

    Googling Search Engines
    Evil monopoly my foot.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    Re:

    Why bother doing your job, when you can get paid extra to just read a script written by a lobbyist?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Well, let's be honest. Ranking Dogpile first for that search is evil.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Actually, Bing is ranks first, Dogpile is second (at least on my browser).

    That's even more evil!!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Bink ranks first *

     

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  11.  
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    Warren, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re:

    I can't tell if you are being sarcastic, pointing out the foolishness of this anti-trust case, or just an idiot. I'm going to assume it is one or both of the first two, since I can't get my head around how paying $0 is twice as much as paying $0.

    The prices Google charges to businesses for the ads and such is currently at an... acceptable level, for lack of a better word since I am unaware of the prices, since businesses are willing to pay and see a return on the income. If the prices were too high, then that's where a competitor can come in.

    I see little reason for the American government to step in. I use gmail and hotmail, I use Google+ and Facebook, I use Google Maps and Daum Maps, I've had an iPhone and now I have an Android phone, I use Google Calander and my phone calander, I use Google Docs and Drop Box, I use Google search and Naver, and the list goes on.

    The point is, for nearly every Google service that I use, I also make use of a competitor on a regular bases. There is plenty of competition already, which many people take advantage of. There is little harm being done to innovation, and it is creating plenty of it. Look at the recent changes made to Facebook and the creation of Google+ as a good example.

    When something new comes along, which offers features that suit my needs better than Google, I am willing to migrate or make use of both. I suspect many consumers are the same way

     

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  12.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    It's stupid to ignore history and let ANY corporation grow as much as it can. Anyone with power ALWAYS turns it against the populace. Even if Google were all to the good now -- it isn't: it's spying on you all at every second -- we've no assurance that it's in anything but incubative stage, just playing nice while consolidating power. Google's potential for harm is enormous, and we must not overlook it. They've already bought off Mike Masnick, who's running pieces defending Google.

    Just answer this: is there any point at which you'd say Google is too big and powerful? -- If yes, fine, we agree in principle, differ only on the danger point. I say keep the monster chained up. If no, then you're a flat out corporatist opposed to /humans/.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "Anyone with power ALWAYS turns it against the populace."

    Government? RIAA? MPAA?

    Thank you, troll proven wrong perpetually by his own words.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Well, there is already a clear cozy relationship between techdirt and google, so no shocks at all to see these pieces (3 in the same day? wow).

    Google is an immensely powerful position now, and they are only getting more and more powerful as they go along. Facebook, Groupon, and many others are in their gun sights, and you know that Google doesn't appear to be against putting their fingers on search results or running up the keyword costs for ads in key markets to keep things on their side.

    With their massive adwords income, they can afford to work in all of these market places without any need for financial return. They can literally "dump" product on the market place without concern for profit, because they are that large and that well financed. If there was ever such as thing as a dominant market force, it is Google.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Oh, have you given up on your "Google is a secret NSA/CIA/FBI conspiracy" angle? I enjoyed that one.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    It's funny how the things "you know" never seem to have any evidence behind them.

     

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  17.  
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    Warren, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    So, you are suggesting that the RIAA and MPAA aren't continuing to use business models that harm innovation and consumer choice?

    And have you been purposely hiding from the stories about the Fed's warrantless wiretapping, or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act? What about it forcing its interests upon other nations? Read the leaked cables, for there are way to many instances to properly cite

    Certainly, people or entities with power don't always turn against the people, but you may wish to research your examples a little better.

     

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  18.  
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    AW (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    He was saying that they are doing what you're saying.

     

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  19.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:55pm

    This is the same as any standard common law tort like copyright infringement, negligence, defamation, trespass, etc that does not involve a contractual situation.

    If there is no harm (injury.. which is what harm means), no damages can be given and therefore no tortious action has been committed.

    Most people know it as the phrase "No harm, No foul"

    [Note that this does not include quasi-torts which are ones that are covered by statutory/regulatory acts though nearly all of them still need the element of harm to of occurred, though not all.]

     

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  20.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:56pm

    Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    "In Gmail, ads are related to the content of your messages."
    How? They read them! Source:
    https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=6603

    That's what you give up to Google: not money but PRIVACY.

    If you keep eyes open, these revelations are abundant. Here's a good outline of the dangers:
    http://gawker.com/5491756/six-delusions-of-googles-arrogant-leaders

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Somebody had to take my post seriously.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Umm, go back and look, you will find the Techdirt stuff happening on the Google campus.

    NEXT!

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    But it's OK to let a business grow too big to fail.

     

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  24.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"

    No Mike doesn't, The law does.

    Reasonable and not de minimus harm needs to be done for any action to succeed under most laws. This includes privacy, otherwise every website that you go to could NOT collect a record of what IP has entered, where they have come from, or where they went.

    Privacy is also relative and very subjective to each individual person. though it is set by the community at large, as are the laws, so if you have a reasonable fear that that sort of harm is a breach of your privacy, get the laws changed. Though make sure their is a wide array of reasonable and non biased people to support it.

    The focus on Google by the US Govt is just a way to take the focus away from the other major problems that are currently affecting the USA, also Google being a relatively new, non 'blue chip' company has to the standard power base that is currently in power, too much money that they do not have access to via the standard 'old boys networks'.

     

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  25.  
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    Bengie, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    I get DogPile, Yahoo, Bing

    If you allow Google to track you, they also take into account your past searches and compare your searches to other people with similar searches and modify the rankings.

     

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  26.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Well then isn't it a good thing that Google is not the only option by far. H*ll, I can even setup my own mail server. I can even have webmail to go with it.

    Just need a PC and some software.

    I could use an AppleTV1 as a mail server if I wanted.

    Vendor neutral industry standards are handy that way.

     

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  27.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    @AC: Re Google is a NSA/CIA front.

    Nope, different focus here is all, but thanks for letting me know that it's taken root. Now every time evidence comes up, you have to strain to ignore it.

    It's not secret. This is from a self-declared "Google fanboy":
    http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/09/in-defense-of-google/
    "Allowing its venture capital arm to pair investments with the CIA’s VC group was bone headed, while turning to the NSA for help when it got hacked is a PR nightmare. Likewise, its drive to land big, secretive search contracts with the feds is also short-sighted — the revenue will be tiny compared to AdWords.

    Meanwhile, it leaves a perception that Google is in bed with three-letter agencies is damaging, especially given the feds abuse of cozy relationships with nation’s telecoms, the Bush administration’s violations of wiretapping law, and the Obama administrations refusal to make good on its promise of revisiting a 2008 compromise that lets the government turn ISPs and online companies into a spying arm of the NSA, with almost no court oversight."

    That says flatly "big, secretive search contracts with the feds", and "will", so I take it as long done.

    Smartass and scoff your way out of that, "AC".

     

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  28.  
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    Adam, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    *Yawn*

    Google wants my info instead of cash? Cool, I signed up for every beta they have ever offered. Google actually needs cash? Cool, I'm paid by a few small businesses to run advertising campaigns on their behalf.

    I need to do a verbal math problem or conversion? I use WolframAlpha.

    Seriously, Google may seem monopolistic in their ways but they in no way hold down the search market. The ad market? Maybe. But with a large number of servers and nodes and reduced bandwidth cost on all them would it not make sense that they are a dominate leader in online advertising considering they can serve their ads at probably a 1/4 of the cost of competitors?

    I will continue to let Google know everything about me, and I could give two shits less if they already do.

     

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  29.  
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    blaktron (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    +1 reading comprehension.

    My point is, saying that corporations will abuse the populace when they get powerful so the government has to chop them off at the knees forgets the fact that the government abuses people as hard or harder than any corporation out there (except maybe Monsanto or BP)

     

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  30.  
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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Ranking Bing at all must actually be some kind of pity vote. It's the only search engine I've used that seems to deliberately omit relevant results.

     

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  31.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Did you read the title? "... The Question Is Whether Google Hurts Consumers" -- I say Mike chose that, and it's too narrow, NOT the only measure of harm. Weenie legalisms can narrow down any question so that only the desired answer is left, even though hideously wrong morally. I'm not limited to within Mike's framing, either, is another point.

     

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  32.  
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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:32pm

    Re: @AC: Re Google is a NSA/CIA front.

    Smartass and scoff your way out of that, "AC".

    No need. Your posts practically mock themselves.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Bing ranks first *

    dang, I can't even avoid a typo when correcting a typo.

     

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  34.  
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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    A bot, that automatically filters ads based on email content is a harm how? It's not like someone at Google is looking for blackmail material, or calling me and mocking my taste in TV shows.

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're really out to get you.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    I never use Bing, I have no idea why it's even ranked first.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Google tracks you? That's even more evil!!!

    (I know someone is bound to take this comment seriously, so just in case, I'm joking).

     

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  37.  
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    fb39ca4, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:40pm

    Thoughts of an immature teenager:

    "Size Doesn't Matter" - lol great title choice.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Oh wait, Bing ranks first as an advertisement. Dogpile ranks first below the adds, and bing ranks third.

     

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  39.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    -10 abstract thinking fail, "blaktron".

    How the hell do you manage to quote:
    "Anyone with power ALWAYS turns it against the populace."
    And yet fail to see that "anyone" includes government and RIAA/MPAA"? -- Oh, I know, because you won't take the time to grasp a nuanced argument, just pigeon-hole me as "enemy".

    (I'm sure dolts are already working on a pun using "pigeon-hole. I /know/ you people.)

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Not what I was referring too, but good deflection effort.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    You really are becoming a self-parody.

     

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  42.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Search Google for Search Engines.

    Microsoft paid to get it there.

     

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  43.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    I can't even see what he was talking about with his propaganda routine...

    Something about Google being evil then taking on the world in a blitzkrieg to leave the rest of the competition in the dust...

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 10:08pm

    The irony

    Just a short time ago, we were hearing about companies that are "too big to fail," so the government gave OUR tax money to bail them out. Google has succeeded through innovation and now they are to big to exist? How does that logic work?

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    ...I say Mike chose that...

    Actually it is the primary point of the article that he linked to from GigaOM.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    No but like EVERYONE else you are limited to what is in the BEST INTEREST of all, not just the minority of one - you. Just because you see harm in what an organisation, individual, whatever does does not mean that it is immoral for the majority.

    Immoral act lie in hurting someone unnecessarily and/or unreasonably since hurt will occur in everything anyone does. This is called Life.

     

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  47.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 11:10pm

    Re:

    We have yet to see Google objectively be outright evil. MS? Sure, we're seeing them do evil shit right now.

    Apple? Well, what they have in style, double for attempts to control their products.

    JP Morgan Chase? If they were any more evil, they'd be the ruling GOP.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re:

    Get a sense of humour.

    I work as a volunteer and if they ask me to work a little longer I always demand double wages for it, I want twice as much nothing for my extra labours!

     

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  49.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:07am

    Size?

    Speaking for most consumers, I'd say we're all pretty lubed up.

     

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  50.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:10am

    Re: Size?

    Dammit, how do I "claim" comments again?

    ...Not that this is exactly the best of mine.

     

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  51.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:23am

    Re:

    Where now is the refrain of "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

    If there was actually any real evidence of corruption, rest assured, everyone here would jump all over it. (See e.g. Mike's multiple posts criticizing their customer service.)

    But the plain fact is that they're probably the least corrupt corporation on the planet.

    The question that should be asked is not how "big" they are, but how much they've kept competitors out of their markets. You don't punish people for their success; you punish them for keeping others from being successful. And Google has been about as anti-competitive as a business possibly can be.

    Example: Almost all of their code is deliberately open source, meaning their competitors can use it without a license. In the programming world, this is about as far as anti-competitive as you can get.

    In fact, their competitors should be the most concerned about these hearings. After all, they want to be successful too, and they don't want to be dragged in front of Senators if they've done nothing wrong, either. That's essentially the message these hearings are sending: "It doesn't matter what you're business methods are, if you're at all successful we must quash you."

     

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  52.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:27am

    Re: Re:

    And Google has been about as anti-competitive as a business possibly can be.

    Okay sorry, this is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to say. I blame it on English teachers and their rules against double negatives.

    I meant to say: "Google has been against anti-competitiveness about as much as a business can possibly be." Sorry 'bout that.

     

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  53.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:34am

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    They've already bought off Mike Masnick, who's running pieces defending Google.

    From what I understand, Mike makes his living from the Insight Community. Take a look at their sponsors.

    Is Google among them?

    Nope.

    So, basically, you're just being a douchebag.

     

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  54.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Vendor neutral industry standards are handy that way.

    Agreed wholeheartedly.

    And if Google was in any way trying to harm/block/stifle any industry standards, I for one would cry bloody murder.

    Luckily they are not. In fact, they are one of the driving forces pushing neutral industry standards. That's why I like them (and not just them, of course).

    This is the primary reason I detest these stupid attacks against Google. I have no personal affinity to them; if some other open source company came along that has products that actually work better, then you can be damn sure I'd use them instead.

    But all to often, it's apparent that the attacks are not against Google per se, but against the idea of open source in general. Google makes billions using a business model that legacy software industries said wouldn't work, and it's obvious that the criticisms against Google are really just defenses of proprietary software in disguise (mostly from Microsoft, but Apple has certainly been a contender as well).

    That is something that I cannot stand.

     

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  55.  
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    Svante Jorgensen (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:53am

    Hands off

    I like all my free Google products - get your dirty hands off my Google!

     

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  56.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:05am

    Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Is someone forcing you to use GMail now? If not, and you object to their clearly stated terms of service, why aren't you using their thousands of competitors or setting up an email address hosted on your own domain?

    It doesn't matter how "evil" a company is if their services can be replicated elsewhere and you have a clear freedom of choice. If you choose to use them but still object to their actions, that just makes you an idiot.

     

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:16am

    Re: we're not google's customers

    "When you don't pay for the service, you are not the customer, YOU are the product."

     

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  58.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:56am

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Just answer this: is there any point at which you'd say Google is too big and powerful?

    Sure. But it's about what it does, not the size. If Google abuses its position, I'd have no problem calling out the company -- and have done so. I disagreed vocally with Google about its decision to settle in the book scanning case, which I said from the beginning was a bad deal, a compromise on its principles and one that would come back to haunt the company.

    I also called the company out when it started censoring certain terms on autocomplete.

    I've also called the company out, repeatedly, for not just it's ridiculously bad customer service, but it's lack of transparency related to such decisions.

    I've also called the company out for its ridiculous kowtowing to the entertainment industry on things like the YouTube copyright school, which was downright misleading.

    I have no problem pointing out problems with Google when I see them.

     

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  59.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Umm, go back and look, you will find the Techdirt stuff happening on the Google campus.


    We've also done stuff on the Microsoft campus. Anyone claiming I have a "cozy relationship" with Microsoft? SAP once offered to let me have an event there, though I never took them up on it. Do I have a "cozy relationship" with SAP?

    We had one event at the Google campus, which they volunteered for. They provided the food & drink and the space. The total cost to them was probably less than $5k. And, by the way, Microsoft offered to host us for that event too, but the timing worked better for Google.

    We've done no other events there. In fact, we did discuss one other event there, and they said they weren't interested in the topic so figured we would be better off going somewhere else.

    This is not a "cozy relationship" as far as I know.

    We do have Google ads on our site. They pay for less than 1/4 of our bandwidth costs. I'm not kidding. We've actually been talking about dropping the Google ads, but not sure if we will. No one who reads Techdirt clicks on Google ads. Revenue from Google is a very small percentage of our business.

    Do I know a few people who work there? Yes. But I live in Silicon Valley and write about technology. I know people at nearly every company I talk about. I know people at the record labels and movie studios. I know people who work for the Obama administration. Does that mean I have a cozy relationship with any of those organizations?

    Keep trying.

     

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  60.  
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    anonymous, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:14am

    seems to me that this statement 'And it’s not even enough to argue that a company with a monopoly is using that position unfairly. It has to be proven that consumers or the marketplace as a whole are being harmed by that behavior, either through higher prices or reduced choice, or both' is exactly what the entertainment industries have done but rather than haul them in front of the Senate to get things changed for the better for consumers, the exact opposite has happened and continues to happen.
    the same goes for massive pharma companies as well. plus, no one is trying to break up the size of the petroleum companies, are they? you cant get bigger than them, or have companies with a bigger strangle hold over, basically, everything!

     

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  61.  
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    OnOff, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:42am

    Re:

    Yes, the USA are now the entire planet.

     

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  62.  
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    OnOff, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    I guess you have just learned the hard way that in order to keep a clean appearance, you must avoid ALL things that could stain that appearance.

    Don't worry, I don't think personally that you have some relationship with Google just because they sponsored your stand but these things, no matter how tiny and insignificant, always get people doubting and asking questions.
    If you really want to look independent, objective and neutral you can't even let anyone working at Google buy you a coffee during an interview. I know it sounds crazy, but the ability to be FULLY trusted is important and well worth it.

     

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  63.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    So, the only way for Mike to maintain any sense of independence is to reject all sponsorship and appearances at any sponsored event (i.e. all of them)? Or, does this again only happen to apply to Google and all other companies are OK?

    So far, I've not seen any criticisms of Mike that don't boil down to half-assed conspiracy theories from people who seem to spend half their life trolling this site. Do you have any other examples?

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Would you like to discuss your relationship with Matt Cutts?

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Every email service out there reads your emails damnit!
    The feds read your emails and the CIA/NSA and others letters soups do too.

    What do you do about it?

    I encrypt everything, you?

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:01am

    Re:

    Quote:
    Netflix's turmoil has an awful lot of its customers muttering a word that should terrify the studios: BitTorrent.

    "The illegal path is not about the cost; it is about actually being able to get all the content you want from a single source," CNNMoney reader Nathan Weyer commented on a recent Netflix story.

    Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/21/technology/blockbuster_streaming/index.htm

    Even CNN is acknowledging that studios and TV producers should pay real attention, but it is probably going to fall in deaf ears.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:05am

    Re:

    Also look at how the incompetency of the industry harms everyone including their own.

    http://torrentfreak.com/movie-institute-feels-pain-of-ip-address-only-piracy-evidence-110922 /

    Not to mention that people today use Google as a medical adviser and use the internet to get treatment, diagnostic and general help concerning health issues, what happens when people start using heavily the internet for healthcare, how those countries that passed 3 strikes laws will justify cutting somebody's connection?

     

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  68.  
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    abc gum, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:35am

    Re: Re:

    "Yes, the USA are now the entire planet."

    World leaders implies that other countries are included.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Google bought Techdirt about $5000 worth of coffee, not a minor amount of money. We aren't talking about who picked up the dinner tab here, we are talking a notable expense (big enough that it likely required a second signature, if you know what I mean). It may be a rounding error for their per-minute income, but it is still not "free".

    The problem is always the same: If Google gives Techdirt a free space and pays the coffee for a Techdirt event, can Techdirt report fairly on Google without feeling that the relationship (which supports Techdirt) would be at risk?

    Techdirt use to rake Google over the coals (as Matt Cutts has said), but the last little while Techdirt is almost entirely turned into Google apologists.

    The appearance of impropriety, rather than impropriety itself is often significant.

     

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  70.  
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    Niall (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Re: The irony

    Because unlike the banks, they aren't 'throwing' money at Congresscritters, Parliament, etc. Nor do they employ loads of people (voters) the way the car industry does.

     

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  71.  
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    Comboman (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:53am

    What about Apple?

    In terms of stock valuation, Apple is bigger than Google and Microsoft COMBINED. Why is the government not going after them?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    So what was your price to attack this site on such a constant basis? By your logic, if you're going to say $0, then you'd better hope you've never done business with anyone you defend lest it be interpreted as a bribe.

    Also, I still notice that you've never cited anywhere you think there may have been a conflict, only that Google have been defended in some (but not all) articles on this site. That's a pretty weak basis for your conspiracy theory, isn't it?

    "Techdirt use to rake Google over the coals (as Matt Cutts has said), but the last little while Techdirt is almost entirely turned into Google apologists."

    Has there been any change in Mike's positions on those specific issues where he had been critical? Or, are we talking about new or different issues that happen to involve the same company?

    If there's been a change in specific positions on specific issues, let's have some citations and let Mike discuss the change. If not, then you're just applying your own faulty logic. It's perfectly possible to be critical of some actions but supportive of others by the same organisation.

    For example, I like most of Apple's products, but have issues with some of the company's actions. If I write a few comments criticising their privacy policy and pricing models, then write an article defending the iPhone against Android fanboys or OSX against Windows 8 fanboys, that doesn't mean I've changed my position on the former.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:20am

    Re: Re:

    Ads on Google are auctioned off. If two companies want a specific word with their add they each submit a bid, whichever is highest wins. BUT, and this is very very important, if you have the highest bid you only pay 1 penny more than the bid that lost, regardless of what your bid actually was. The market, not Google, determines what a search is worth on Google.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re:

    On average it costs more to advertise with Microsoft than with google. Google is very much a pay for what you want and nothing else, where with advertising with MS you pay for bells and whistles you don't need. I only know this because of a paper I did 2 years ago for my marketing class.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:55am

    GOOGLE IS TOO BIG TO FAIL!!!!!

    So the US should be giving it money like they did the banks...right?

     

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  76.  
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    Warren, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Good for you. So, like I said in my post where I assumed the poster was being sarcastic, I will assume your need to try to belittle me is just the need to vent some stress.

     

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    fb39ca4, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:06am

    We should...

    We shouldjust make all the tech companies (google, apple, Microsoft, IBM and a few others) sue each others pants off. That should reduce their size, if you see what I mean. (unless some of them are of the exhibitionist type, then it won't work)

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:07am

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "It's stupid to ignore history and let ANY corporation grow as much as it can."
    Great setup, Ewtbee! I was looking for a place to echo-for-effect a point I saw in the quote from Ingram who was quoting Judge Learned Hand (really? is that his name?!): “The successful competitor, having been urged to compete, must not be turned on when he wins.”

    Are you saying that the free market and capitalist economy of competition should be: “Compete! Grow! Be successful! Just not TOO successful!!!”

    Really?

    Or, should we watch these ‘large’ corporations and go after them if they start using their size and success to hurt competition and consumers? You know, instead of assuming guilt-by-association and shooting the people who chase the American Dream and actually catch it.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Paul, issues change, I am sure that in your business you are not addressing the same issues that you addressed 5 years ago, right? Google is always on the move, so new issues appear and old ones tend to drop off.

    The difference I think on Techdirt is the tone taken towards Google. Sure, Mike does rib them for their poor (non-existent) customer service, but when it comes to any substantative issues, it seems that Mike almost always gives Google either a pass or at best a very weak slap on the fingers.

    Example:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110203/15413212956/microsoft-highlights-why-googl es-cheater-accusations-ring-hollow.shtml

    Notice the "softening" paragraph at the end.

    Then there is cheering them on:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110415/02580813908/why-google-should-buy-recording-industr y.shtml

    and even good old fashion boosterism:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060324/1829206.shtml

    Mike isn't exactly slamming them into the dirt, is he?

     

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    Jimr (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Good thing the banks are too big to fail and subject to massive government bailouts.

    Google needs to take lesson from the bank and try to grow exponentially so they too can become to big to fail and hence no longer subject to the regular rules of business or congressional oversight. The only problem is that Google is not big enough. Google needs to be as big as banks!

     

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  81.  
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    darryl, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Does advertising hurt consumers ??

    Generally no, you need adverts to learn of things you can purchase, and everyone knows the price you pay for a product includes a cost for advertising. It is one of the "Four P's" of business.

    Product
    Price
    Packaging
    PROMOTION ----- that is the cost of google, (amoung others, like TV, radio, news papers).

    It is a cost that is amortized over the run of the product, google is just an advertising company after all.

    Just like the guy in "bewitched", and "Mr Ed" for that matter !!!!..

    TV makes its money from adds by putting on shows that alot of people will watch, and then putting adds between the show.

    The adds pay for the show (either directly or indirectly) remember what "soap oparah" are called that ?
    Because they were paid for by soap companies.

    Google does not put on shows to get viewers, they provide other services and make deals with millions of web pages to place targetterd adds.

    The companies who have their adds on Google, pay google for the privilage. Then google pays a VERY SMALL amount (ask Mike) in relation to the number of hits that web page gets.

    What this does, like with TV is force the various web site to work more to get hits, than to provide balanced coverage.

    It's the "go for the biggest number of hits" concept that is what is doing more damage to the net than anything else.

    But every product you buy includes a charge for promotion, or advertising, and that does not matter if you have ever seen adds for that product.

    I know lots of people who do not use the internet, they pay for Google adds, but never see a google sourced add.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    Tell that to Bears !!!

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re: *Yawn*

    No google want your info THEN your cash....

    Also too alot of people, your info is more valuable than cash.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Is anything you write ever going to make any sense?

    Sometimes I think you might be Darryl but with better punctuation and slightly less insane rambling.

     

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  85.  
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    darryl, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    I am sure Mike that Google does not give a TOSS about you, or what you say.

    They only care about how many people view the adds they host on your web page.

    Google would not care less, what you said if it increased their add hits they would not care if you said google was the devil, or evil incarnate.... just as long as they get their number, so they can charge their clients and pay you a small reward for selling your soul... (and reputation)...

    Not that I ever thought that your reputation has much if any value..

    I only come here to be amused by your star struck fanbois who hang off your every word, and will back you up 100% regardless of any independent thought of their own...

    You've at least groomed a few who think you are "the one"...

    Most others realise you are a 'talker' not a 'doer', that is why you have spent your life on some jerkwater web site, spewing bitterness because you see others actually doing things and making money.

    And you Mike, and left behind trying to flog 'crystal balls'. At least we all know you have crystal balls Mike

     

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  86.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: @AC: Re Google is a NSA/CIA front.

    My posts don't mock themselves.

    I'm an a-hole.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Gabriel, nobody is upset at Google for their success as a search engine in and of itself. Rather, the concerns are that they are able to use their dominant position in ways that can hinder competitors in search and other businesses that Google chooses to enter.

    Why can Google try to take on Facebook? Quite simply, because Google can afford to fail, fail for a long time, and keep failing until they finally crack the nut and push Facebook out of the way.

    Their dominant search + adwords combination makes they a potent and dangerous competitor for any online business. Just ask the guys at Groupon what it feels like when this gorilla starts to look at their market. Goodbye IPO! :)

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    oh, i was so happy thinking you had left.

    turns out you spent the last 2 months researching how the caps lock button works. congratz on finally getting the hang of it.

    Now if you could just disappear for another 2 months maybe you could research how to be intelligent.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    the concerns are that they are able to use their dominant position

    Anti-trust investigations usually start AFTER someone has abused their dominant position.

    Everyone agrees that Google COULD use their dominant position but until they do "there is nothing to see here, move along".

     

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  90.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    I thought JP Morgan Chase did rule the GOP.

    Along with BOA, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, State Street Corp, Wells Fargo & Company...

     

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  91.  
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    Dave, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:01am

    Re: Hands off

    This is a really good point. Do I want the governtment comming in and changing Google? HELL NO! I love Google, I love it's products, and it just keeps getting better.

    You know, I hear a lot of crying and whining from senators and CEO's of competitors, buy I don't hear anything from the American people. Don't we matter in all this? Stupid politics.

     

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    Arthur (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Big is bad?

    If the size of the organization determined how evil it was, then the U.S. government would be the most evil organization around.

    Wait, that doesn't help, does it?

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No actually, you didn't assume the poster was being sarcastic. You explicitly stated that you couldn't tell.

    So, if anything is being belittled, is that you can't tell if something is sarcasm or not.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: Mike purposely narrows notion of "harm"; here's a CREEPY practice.

    Not only does the evil Google read your mail, I've heard they even keep a copy of it in their hard drive!

     

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  95.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    OK, are you missing the point again?

    Your premise seems to be that Mike is a paid shill for Google because he happened to go there once and got some free catering organised. As silly as that sounds, I just asked for proof that on a single issue he'd changed his stance on any issue. This would both allow Mike to defend his position and for us to debate what's actually happening.

    Instead, you provide a few cherry-picked articles on completely different areas where he's been on Google's side. On an opinion blog, you found someone whose opinion is largely (but not always) on their side. Well done. I can name a few other blogs who tend to be pro-Apple or pro-Linux or even pro-Microsoft. Were they all bought out too?

    Now, can you provide proof on your own assertion? Did he once criticise a policy of Google's, for example, but then lauded the same policy a short time later? Did he change his mind about an ongoing issue halfway through with no new evidence to justify it? Otherwise, your implication that he's been bought by Google is a pretty thin one, especially when you notice the indefensible and outright false attacks on them. At least one of the articles you linked to is in response to utterly idiotic claims.

    "I am sure that in your business you are not addressing the same issues that you addressed 5 years ago, right?"

    Yes, I certainly am. Not every single issue is the same, of course, but some issues remain the same - licensing and regulation, the need to keep blocking and changing sites customers are allowed to access because French or Americans manage to get on to our site. Some of these issues are identical, and it's not the fault of my company. Others, such as the fact that we still run largely on XP and Server 2003, keep the same technical limitations coming. That's the fault of management, perhaps, but I still deal with the same issues because some people refuse to change - sound familiar?

    That's really the thing though, isn't it? If Mike is criticising the same issues year after year, perhaps you should stop blaming him, and recognising that the same issues remain. Most of the mistakes being made by the entertainment industry are the same ones, for sure, while these attacks on Google have been going on for years. If people discussing the news are constantly discussing the same issue, maybe it's not the discussion that's the problem.

     

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  96.  
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    Christophe, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Proof Google is EVIL

    You need look no further than YouTube (owned by Google) for proof of Google's gross malfeasance. Why do they turn off comments on so many movies? (hint: you are still sheeple if the YT movies you watch allow comments)

    Why do they ban so much material when it is anti-Israel or anti-Zionist? Ever notice how Eric Schmidt is a regular attendee at the Bilderberg Group?

    We frequently hear about how US companies are helping China enforce its totalitarian internet censorship, but what about the censorship that's happening at home? How come no one is writing about how Google turns off comments? Freedom of speech? Not if Google has anything to say about it, unless it's a Justin Beeber video...

    Google is EVIL and all the tech sites are forced to play along or get all their advertisement revenues revoked (the corporate oligarchy extends far past Google, evidently, as they are all in bed together, even if they do compete with one another to some degree).

     

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  97.  
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    Pat, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:04am

    "To date, the focus has basically been on the fact that Google is big... and on how some competitors don't like it that they can't keep up. But the evidence of higher prices? Just not there."


    The Sherman Anti-Trust Act focuses on anti-competitive behavior, not consumer prices, Anticompetitive behavior can include low prices.

    For a company to really rise to the attention of the trustbusters it has to be dominant in its business sector. The talk about "bigness" is to shine a spotlight on Google's behavior so that the behavior is more closely scrutinized.

    The hearings are a necessary part of political change to get people to pay attention. Since Congress cannot order any action specifically against Google (it would violate Article I Section 10. ), Congress is putting the regulators on notice to do their job wrt Google.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Would you like to discuss your relationship with Matt Cutts?


    Sure, if you want. Not much to discuss. I met Matt three or four years ago at a roundtable discussion held at Santa Clara University. We were sitting next to each other and he's a big Techdirt reader, and I followed his blog, so we chatted a bit and exchanged business cards. A month or so later, I had lunch with him, where I think we mostly talked about families.

    Since I think I saw him once at a conference very very briefly.

    Other than that, I've emailed him a few times about random Google things. We follow each other on Twitter and on Google+ and sometimes respond to each other there. He had no part/knowledge/role in that sponsorship deal. I never mentioned it to him as far as I know and he didn't attend.

    Seriously, you're barking up the wrong tree here. I know lots of other people at Google much better than I know Matt. And I have much closer friends at lots of other companies. Some of my closest friends (the people I see all the time) work at Facebook, Oracle and Adobe, and I don't think I have much nice to say about any of those companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re:

    "Open source" doesn't matter if you refuse to actually share the code in question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Size?

    I'd say if you left an email address, it would show under your account settings, where you can claim it. If not, it's best just to write right under it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    icon
    Grae (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you ..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Wrong audience

    To all of those that have commented thinking Google provides free services and that searching is free, I want to point out that you've misidentified the customer. The real customers are the companies paying Google for adwords and related services, so the measure of harm that needs to be met is whether the increases in these prices are justified.

    Stating that Google gives people free email accounts, searches, etc just proves how well they treat their product, which in case you haven't realized yet, is you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    Then how come they don't shine a light on Walmart?

    It's big, it doesn't give to charities like it could, and...

    Oh yeah... They donate lavishly to the Republican party to screw over their employees.

    Great to know that selective enforcement is the call of the day for Congress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    You idiot.

    What he(?) wrote makes perfect sense; your ability to follow the logic is what makes no sense.

    Let me break it down into pieces that hopefully even you can swallow:

    1. We can't get rid of the gov't (without armed revolution, anyway) -- thus "the gov't" and its ramifications escape the scope of this discussion.

    2. Google's power is enormous, and growing.

    3. History has shown us that no company has ever gained power beyond some threshold and failed to abuse it.

    4. Google's power exceeds or equals at least one of the past companies which have engaged in harmful activity.

    Simple analysis:

    Google is not a moral entity; it is a publicly owned and traded corporate entity with a mission which categorically excludes "Don't be evil" and in fact amounts to, "Enrich shareholder value" or some crap like that.

    In other words, Google can NOT be trusted to "remain good" even if you assume it's being good at the moment -- which is not at all obvious to anyone who isn't buying into their PR.

    Over a large enough period of time, the probability of Google's "EP" asymptotically approaches 1; the sane and sensible approach is to limit the potential damage WHEN, and not if that happens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Another point: the power of the gov't is effectively limitless in any scenario relevant to this discussion, and thus the worry of "the gov't getting more powerful" as a result of curtailing Google's behaviour is essentially a dangerous and stupid red herring used by apologists and shills to deflect attention from the potential threat posed by Google, and onto everyone's current favourite bogeyman-they-intend-to-do-nothing-about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    But, nobody has to pay for Google! How could their total and utter collapse in a market place completely and utterly dependent on them possible hurt anyone?

    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    They already have used it. And are using it.

    You are just too blind to see the connections.

    (Hint: what do you think e-mail really has to do with search?)

    (Another hint: when did Google Maps stop being about mapping and start being an attempt to squeeze every bit of life out of the "yellow pages" market?)

    (Why does a search engine company need an operating system for their customers to use? Any browser (including Lynx) worked with Google just fine until they started doing that web2.0 crap.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    icon
    cjstg (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    you cannot judge a company based on size alone. you have to look at market size, competitors and what harm that they have caused. that's why standard oil was broken up and exxonmobil has not.

    everyone including google knows that as soon as they create an environment where the use of their product become more of a hassle than they are worth 14 new companies will come along and eat their lunch. this is already happening with social networking but few acknowledge its power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Warren above once again proved that Poe's Law has yet to have an exception.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, they just bribed Congress to hold the Cong part over the Gress part.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: @AC: Re Google is a NSA/CIA front.

    Nah, you're just bugfuck crazy like me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Open source" doesn't matter if you refuse to actually share the code in question.

    In fact, if you don't share the code, and also grant anyone permission to modify and redistribute it, it is by definition not open source.

    Google's software is open source. For example, you can download, modify, and redistribute the source code for Chrome all you want.

    They are also the sponsors of Summer of Code, which is one of the biggest open-source programs on the planet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Not only are you paying twice as much, but you're paying half as much, as well! See how evil they are?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Yes, because offering things people use automatically implicates a company. Perhaps instead of allegations you'd like to offer hard evidence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Does advertising hurt consumers ??

    You said a lot, but didn't make a point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re:

    It's big, it doesn't give to charities like it could, and...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "Your premise seems to be that Mike is a paid shill for Google because he happened to go there once and got some free catering organised. "

    See, this is why it's hard to have a discussion on Techdirt, because everyone seems to be trying to make each item all or nothing.

    I didn't say Mike is a paid shill. I just think that, because of his contacts with Google, and the fact that they have support at least one of his pet projects leads him to naturally look at them in a slightly better light. If Google is in the grey, Mike these days seems to see it as "grey but very close to okay", where as in the past it might have just been grey. When they are grey to "almost bad", he sees them as grey.

    Can we get away from bizarre absolutes and start looking more at the subtle here for a minute?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    Mike, out of your friends at Facebook, Oracle, or Abode, how many of them are "extreme upper management"? How many of those companies have lent you their facilities (or hosted a "techdirt pet project" in their offices)?

    See my comment above. I think that you are giving Google much more of the benefit of the doubt these days, much more than you would give most companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    good for a laugh

    I love how people spout how google is an evil global conspiracy with billions of dollars to spare destroying rival companies and taking over the internets....

    But they can't spare just $50 to hire a hitman to take down some commenters on a web forum.

    (its $50 if you order hits in-bulk..erm so I've heard)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    google IS too big to fail

    If google ceased to exist, where would Bing steal all its search results from?

    Yahoo? (/snort of derision)

    Yahoo is now just a scammers portal where they'll sell pictures of your colonoscopy if it would net a profit.

    Whats the bet when the head of Yahoo was fired by phone call, someone somewhere had to justify the cost of the call first?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "See, this is why it's hard to have a discussion on Techdirt, because everyone seems to be trying to make each item all or nothing. "

    Wow, you of all people saying this? I can hardly make any criticism of the way the entertainment industry without being called a thief, a pirate or numerous other unsavoury things. You AC idiots are the ones making that problem all by yourselves.

    "I didn't say Mike is a paid shill."

    I simply called you on your own implication, as evidenced by your comment "Google bought Techdirt about $5000 worth of coffee, not a minor amount of money.". What else were you trying to imply if not that?

    " If Google is in the grey, Mike these days seems to see it as "grey but very close to okay", where as in the past it might have just been grey"

    So, a person cannot state his own opinion on his own opinion blog without being accused of being paid to do so? A person is not allowed to defend Google against clear false accusations (the only thing making them "grey", to be honest, unless you're one of those fools who don't understand you don't have to use their services)?

    "Can we get away from bizarre absolutes and start looking more at the subtle here for a minute?"

    As ever, you first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Google cuts their prices in half whenever they're having a sale, but they're really being anti-competitive in nature because their primary objective is to undercut the competition and drive them out of business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Sep 25th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    in half

    so they go from $0 to $0...OMG someone call the lawyers..oh wait they already did!

    Next thing you know they'll be saying that you can have six months of $0 internet searching for the price of ONE ($0).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    icon
    aikiwolfie (profile), Sep 25th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Microsoft and UEFI

    I predict an anti-trust law suit in the next few years when Windows 8 hits the stores. Apparently Microsoft are insisting OEMs and ODMs producing "Ultrabooks" who are participating in the Windows 8 logo program use a "security" feature of UEFI which requires an OS to be digitally signed with special keys. Which will of course lock out many GNU/Linux distributions from the mainstream PC market.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    "I think that you are giving Google much more of the benefit of the doubt these days, much more than you would give most companies."

    Based on what evidence? Do you have any comparable evidence to base your assertion on?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    At least I can now understand what he's saying. Sure, he still contradicts himself and none of what he says is backed by any evidence and he uses terrible logic, but at least it doesn't read like a bunch of random mixed case letters and words put together to form what appears to be a poor attempt at someone trying to learn how to speak English for the first time from a teacher who's purposely teaching it incorrectly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Sep 25th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    what appears to be a poor attempt at someone trying to learn how to speak English for the first time from a teacher who's purposely teaching it incorrectly.

    Internet law requires that I post a link to this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6D1YI-41ao

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    As long as your point is "keep an eye on Google" and not "punish Google for something they might do" I agree with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did you learn nothing from the Robber Baron era, Mike?

    email... yellow pages... operating system... How are any of those an abuse of monopoly power?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  130.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Re: What about Apple?

    In terms of stock valuation, Apple is bigger than Google and Microsoft COMBINED. Why is the government not going after them?

    Because antitrust actions aren't based on market capitalization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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