Mr. Google Goes To Washington

from the and-sells-out dept

The recent antitrust spat between Google and Microsoft is just part of a broader strategy at Google to cozy up to Washington. Considering the fact that the tech industry hasn't typically had much lobbying clout, the move might be regarded as smart. But on the whole, this can't be regarded as a good development for the industry. Cato Institute director David Boaz has a good essay on how Google is getting sucked into what he calls the "parasite economy" (via Tech Liberaton Front). As he puts it, more of Google's talent and money is now being used to marshal support from Washington, rather than direct competition in the marketplace, which is a losing scenario for everyone (especially consumers) in the long term. You might think that pursuing antitrust issues is a corollary to the fight against the messed up patent system, which has the effect of creating monopolies. But it's just the opposite. Pursuing antitrust cases, like aggressively using patents, is a way of using the auspices of government to stave off the competition. As Google is clearly demonstrating, Microsoft can do very little to stop its advance, and thus its very success undermines any claims that it's up against unfair competition or needs government support.

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  1. identicon
    Green Machine, 21 Jun 2007 @ 9:20am

    Too big?

    Has Google become so big that Microsoft actually seems like a sympathetic character in comparison?

    Like it or not, a DC presence is necessary. They have 12 people here. And almost everyone they've hired is a DC lifer. I think they are a long way off from sapping their creative energy by putting too much talent and money into Washington. Right now, they've got plenty of both to spare.

    That being said, I agree with the general TechDirt theme that too much focus on lobbying and litigation instead of innovation is a bad long-term business strategy. But, as Microsoft proved, so is avoiding Washington altogether.

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