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 @ 9:57am

    Google is getting complacent

    Why should microsoft have to change their product to make it easier for a competitor? By building a desktop search into their OS they are trying to make it a better product and compete with other OS's such as Mac OSX which have integrated desktop search features. Just because google created a third-party desktop search feature first doesn't mean they should have a monopoly on this feature and Microsoft should be unable to better their own product. If you look at the comments from Google they still aren't happy with the concessions that Microsoft is making, which are to make changing to a third-party desktop search easier. Why can't google innovate by making it easier to switch to google desktop themselves? They already have many free software providers questionably bundling thier desktop search in with other products, forcing you to uncheck a box during installation to prevent automatic installation of google desktop. Can't they engineer a way to have this installation replace the vista desktop search? Sounds to me like they find it easier to make Microsoft do all the work.

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