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
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2007 @ 9:32am

    Wasn't the point of this whole situation that Microsoft had done something within the OS that degraded the quality of third party search products and made it very difficult to use them. In what way is Google supposed to deal with that issue "in the marketplace?" The very notion that a company should attempt to compete without government assistance in a monopolized market completely misses the concept at hand. Microsoft cannot be allowed to abuse their 90% OS market share because THAT does hurt consumers directly.

    When Microsoft leverages their dominant position in the OS market to achieve dominance in another market that's a blatant abuse of their monopoly position. The post misses the point that free market thinking only works in a situation in which there is a free market to begin with. What we are talking about here is the "Windows Market." Microsoft has that on lock down because without government regulation Microsoft sets the rules for who and what runs how well on their proprietary OS.

    With Microsoft's new policy of using product pricing as a means of providing enhanced malware security for their OS I would be far more concerned about a lack of regulation. What comes next? Developers "paying" to run signed code on Windows? What Google is doing is about the only way they can get a foot in the door so that they have an opportunity to compete. Is the situation unfortunate? Yes. Should Google be blamed for it? No.

    Don't be an idiot.

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