Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2015-05-14 15:38
Based on the latest best arguments this week from both the FCC and broadband petitioners, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is very likely to partially stay the FCC Open Internet Order’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II service and imposition of a new Internet conduct standard -- in the coming weeks.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-05-08 11:14
Most have missed entirely the broader significance of the EC-DGComp’s laser-focused Google Statement of Objections (that charge Google is dominant in search and is abusing that dominance in Google Shopping by self-dealing via preferencing Google content over competitors’ content) in the broader context of the EU’s new “platform neutrality” principle to advance a European Single Digital Market.
To date, Google is the only digital company that the EC-DGComp has found to be an abusively dominant “platform” warranting a non-discrimination remedy that Google cannot self-deal. A primary allegation driving the EC’s new antitrust investigation of the Google-Android platform is that Google self-deals by design in requiring Google Search and other Google apps to be offered to users by default on Android.
The significance of what DGComp and the EU do on Google-Android “platform neutrality” could turn out to be the single most important element long term for the European Single Digital Market.
Android is rapidly becoming Europe’s (and most of the world’s) single dominant digital operating system that increasingly will have the market power to dictate who wins and who loses throughout the markets for digital devices, the Internet of things, the connected home, the connected car, etc.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2015-05-04 19:15
In the coming weeks, expect the D.C. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court to grant a partial stay, of only the FCC’s Title II reclassification of broadband and its new “Internet conduct standard” (not the FCC’s net neutrality prohibitions of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization), even though stay requests normally have a low probability of success, because petitioners must convince the court that they are likely to win on the merits and that the opposed action will cause irreparable harm.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-04-29 11:15
Google’s EU antitrust defense suffers from “Goobris,” a new word because “hubris” is not big enough to describe the behavior of a single company that denies it is dominant in Europe when it commands >90% share of search, >90% share of search advertising in part via Google Analytics 98% share of ad tracking of Europe’s websites, and 5 of the top 6, billion-user, universal web platforms: search, video, mobile, maps, and browser.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2015-04-27 10:01
Will the FCC create an Internet “Do Not Track” list like the FTC created the “Do Not Call” list enjoyed by three quarters of Americans?
In ruling the Internet to be subject to common carrier consumer protection law, the Obama FCC’s recently passed Open Internet Order applied common carrier privacy law (Section 222) to Internet telecommunications as part of the FCC’s unilateral efforts to modernize communications law for the 21st century.
The Obama FCC’s Open Internet Order also ruled that the Internet now encompasses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and that an IP address is the functional equivalent of a telephone number.
Thus, logically it could follow that information that’s considered legally private in the telephone world now could be considered legally private in the Internet world.
This central consumer protection question should come up this week as the FCC hosts a Section 222 public workshop to explore the FCC’s “role in protecting the privacy of consumers who use” the Internet.
What is Section 222?
It is a common carrier provision of the Communications Act entitled “Privacy of Customer Information.”
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-04-24 11:10
The US-EU “competition” of protectionist digital industrial policies -- U.S. Title II net neutrality vs. the EU’s emerging “platform neutrality” plans -- creates an ironic backdrop to negotiations for the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) “free” trade agreement. Heightening the irony, the Obama Administration, not the European Commission, has been the protectionist digital industrial policy leader, trailblazing the political path for the EU’s Single Digital Market to follow.
At least on the digital markets front, TTIP will be much less a commercial “free” trade negotiation and much more a political “fair” trade negotiation.
The U.S. has long set the tone and trajectory for this digital “fair” trade dynamic in championing net neutrality to protect its Silicon Valley national champions, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, etc., and by skewing antitrust enforcement to benefit Google and Silicon Valley.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-04-22 21:44
Please don't miss my latest Daily Caller Op-ed: "FCC-villle's Kangaroo Court."
It puts into perspective the extent of the FCC's arbritrariness and capriciousness in its reclassification of the Internet as a Title II telephone monopoly.
FCC Open Internet Order Series
Part 1: The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet [9-24-09]
Part 2: Why FCC proposed net neutrality regs unconstitutional, NPR Online Op-ed [9-24-09]
Part 3: Takeaways from FCC's Proposed Open Internet Regs [10-22-09]
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-04-17 11:07
Facts belie Google’s rote denials that it is dominant, and that favoring its own content over competitors is anti-competitive in the EU. As this post will prove below, the public facts are overwhelming that Google is dominant and self-dealing.
But first, look closely and witness that the entirety of Google’s antitrust defense is essentially political -- that the EU’s antitrust law and precedent shouldn’t be different or tougher than America’s. Specifically, Google essentially is arguing that the EU shouldn’t have a lower market share threshold to be legally considered dominant and the EU shouldn’t have presumption in law that if dominant, the dominant company has “a special responsibility not to allow its conduct to impair competition on the common market.”
That’s wishful whining; it is not a legal antitrust defense in Europe.
It is only fitting that Google faces a Danish prosecutor in EC VP Margrethe Vestager. That’s because Google currently is acting out the role of emperor in the most famous Danish fable by Hans Christian Anderson, the “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-04-15 11:06
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2015-04-14 11:11
Just when Google needs it most, its political bag of tricks to dodge antitrust enforcement may be running out.
Reports that the EC is likely to issue a Statement of Objections ruling soon -- that Google is >90% dominant in search and search advertising and has illegally abused that dominance by promoting Google’s content and demoting competitors’ content -- indicates Google finally may be facing a global antitrust inflection point.
A tough EC SO would be a game-changer for Google, like the 2000 U.S. District Court case that ruled Microsoft an anti-competitive monopoly, proved to be a game-changing, global antitrust inflection point for Microsoft.
Substantively on the merits of the EC antitrust case, Google appears to have little room to maneuver. The EC effectively agrees with the FTC’s staff antitrust conclusions per the leaked FTC staff report. That finding is highly problematic for Google because: EU competition law is much tougher than America’s; Google’s relative >90% market dominance in Europe is much greater than in the U.S.; and Google doesn’t have the dominant political influence over Europe that it does with the U.S. Executive Branch.