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Innovation

Skyhook Wireless is Google's Netscape -- Googleopoly VII: Monopolizing Location Services

Skyhook Wireless' anticompetitive complaints are to Google's antitrust problems what Netscape's complaints were to DOJ's anti-monopolization case against Microsoft -- i.e. the most blatant, understandable, and strategically-important example of abusing monopoly power to monopolize a linchpin technology in order to extend the monopoly into other strategic markets.

 

  • Simply, Skyhook Wireless is the poster child victim of Google monopoly abuse.

 

 

I.  Why is Skyhook-Google analogous to  Netscape-Microsoft ?

Of all the many claims of anti-competitive behavior against Google that I have reviewed over the last four years, I believe the Skyhook complaints are the charges that Google should be most worried about and that the DOJ/EU should be most interested in.

FCC's Net Regs in Conflict with President's Pledges

The FCC's Open Internet order should be ripe for review and "fixing" given President Obama's pledge in his SOTU speech last night:

  • "To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on business, we will fix them."

Clearly the FCC's preemptive bans, restrictions and economic/price regulation of competitive broadband providers based on scant and weak evidence of any real problem to solve, obviously place "an unnecessary burden on business" and the Administration should "fix them."

As I explained in my previous detailed post: "Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review," the FCC's Open Internet order violates the President's pledge for regulations to:

Larry Page's Biggest Challenges as Google CEO

Larry Page is very different from Eric Schmidt, consequently he will be a completely different Google CEO.

 

  • Mr. Page is the internal hardliner and the main driving force behind Google, providing the uber-ambition, the "open" philosophy/ideology zeal, the passion-for-innovation, and the impatient, aggressive take-no-prisoners approach to most everything Google does.
  • Mr. Page has always been the penultimate power, final decision-maker and driving force inside Google behind the scenes.
  • Mr. Schmidt has been the co-founders' public face and very able implementer and businessman.

 

The biggest difference people will notice will be external relations.

First, Schmidt and Page are polar opposites when it comes to external relations.

Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review

To promote "America's free market," President Obama today ordered a government-wide review of regulations that "make our economy less competitive," in order to take us "toward a 21st century regulatory system."

Here is the case for why the FCC's December Open Internet order deserves to be atop of the Administration's regulations to review for abolition.

 

 

First, the FCC's new Internet regulations violate the President's goal of a "21st century regulatory system" by applying "outdated" 19th century common carrier regulatory thinking and approaches to the previously un-regulated, and flourishing 21st century Internet. (Para 68)

Second, the FCC rules violate the President's goal of avoiding "excessive, inconsistent, and redundant regulation."

 

Fact-Checking Google's Antitrust Defense -- Part VI in Google Pinocchio Series

In a rare public antitrust defense, Google posted a rebuttal of Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein's challenge of Google's strategy of buying its way to broader market dominance (via its pending acquisition of ITA Software that is being reviewed by the DOJ.)

Google's standard misdirection warrants fact-checking.

First, Google claims: "All companies make 'build vs. buy' decisions. The clear subtext here is that Google is no different than any other company making acquisitions, so if others have had their mergers approved so should Google -- fair is fair.

This is misleading because Google is omitting highly material facts of how Google is very different than other companies, and why ITA arguably is a very special case.

 

FCC Should Declare Victory

Comcast's EVP David Cohen spoke at Brookings today on "Who should Govern the Internet."

 

  • His thesis was dead on and well worth spotlighting -- the Internet is an engineering creation and the Internet flourishes because it lives in the collaborative and capable hands of engineers dedicated to making the Internet work for everyone.
  • The speech explained how engineers working together in forums like the IETF and BITAG can solve, and solve quickly, issues that others try to unnecessarily involve lawyers and regulators in.

 

My big takeaway from the event, was that the FCC should declare victory -- that we have a free and open Internet -- and then get back to the real pressing work facing the FCC -- the National Broadband Plan.

There are no existing net neutrality problems, and no technical issues that the industry engineering bodies, IETF and BITAG have not been able to resolve.

There is simply no need for the FCC to fix an Internet that is already operating as the FCC and most everyone expects it to operate.

5 Big Reasons DOJ Will Block Google-ITA

Google's proposed purchase of ITA Software is likely to be blocked by the DOJ for five big reasons.

First, the announcement of a new FairSearch.org coalition of Google's Travel competitors opposed to the Google-ITA deal, which was first reported by Tom Catan of the WSJ, provides the DOJ with most all the elements necessary for the DOJ to block the deal: broad and deep evidence of anticompetitive effects from multiple competitors with deep understanding of the market, a sound theory of the case, and a number of credible witnesses willing to take the stand in court to block the deal.

Second, a key opposition counsel who represents IAC's Expedia, is none other that Tom Barnett, who was the DOJ Antitrust Chief in 2008, who blocked a previous Google attempt to monopolize in the Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement.

Apple's Individualism vs. Google's Collectivism

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is wise to publicly debunk Google's claim that: Google defines "openness" (aka -- good), and Apple defines "closedness" (aka -- evil).

 

  • As Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: Google's concept of "openness" is "much easier to understand by opposition" so he defined Google's approach as the "inverse" of Apple's.

 

Google is right that they are the inverse/opposite of Apple, but not in the way that Google claims -- being open/neutral vs. being closed.

 

Google Price Index: Insider Trading & Market Failure?

Google announced it is working on an economy-wide Google Price Index, but has not decided whether to make it public, per Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian, who spoke at the National Association of Business Economists conference this week.

 

  • This development has under-appreciated implications for insider trading and also spotlights how Google's online dominance of market-relevant information suggests market failure and a new potential systemic vulnerability to the integrity of global capital markets.

 

I.  Insider Trading

In March, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "One day we had a conversation where we figured out we could just try and predict the stock market... and then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."

Now any hedge fund (or market regulator not born yesterday) understands that if Google is actively working on a Google Price Index, Google has not stopped trying to use its uniquely comprehensive and timely, repository of sensitive market information to predict information highly useful to predicting the stock market.

 

10 Questions for Google Chauffeur

Google's blog post "What we're driving at" announced that Google has "developed technology for cars to drive themselves." Google stated: "Larry and Sergey founded Google because they wanted to help solve really big problems using technology... Our goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions..."

 

This project raises some interesting questions no one has asked Google yet.

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths