You are here

"Open Hypocrisy!" eBay-Skype "Blocks" application competition

 It is clear that "open access" is not a true "principle" for eBay-Skype, but a self-serving scheme by eBay to cloak their obvious "private interest" behind the greater "public interest."

  • If "open access" was a true "principle" to eBay-skype,they would abide by it in their own business, and lead by example, but alas they don't.
  • They hypocritically do the exact opposite.

Open access to eBay-Skype is a blatant double standard where eBay wants government to regulate their competitors to eBay-Skype's commercial advantage, but do not want the principle applied to eBay-Skype.

What double standard am I talking about?

eBay's Skype petition to the FCC demands that the FCC regulate the competitive wireless industry to prevent "blocking" of online applications among other regulatory demands.

  • In their own words, Skype states: "doing so will ensure that consumers retain a right to run the applcations of their choosing..."

But does eBay do that in its own business?

eBay's "do as I say, not as I do" policy, does not "ensure that consumers retain a right to run the applications of their choosing..." as they demanded in their FCC Skype petition.

The height of eBay-Skype's hypocrisy is put in perspective when one compares the very different levels of competition in eBay's market vs the wireless market.

eBay should be more careful of what they ask for.

  • The FCC has a long history of precedent in seeking "regulatory parity" and technologically neutral policies.
  • eBay may have forgotten, but the FCC's fourth net neutrality principle explicitly says that: "...consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers and content providers."
    • It seems clear that the FCC does not think that applications providers are any different than network providers in terms of consumer expectations of competitive choice.

It is also ironic that the tech industry, is complaining about lack of competition when the tech sector is characterized by first-mover-advantage and powerful network effects that tend to create dominant market players:

  • e.g. eBay with 95% of the online auction market;
  • Microsoft with ~90+% of the PC software market,
  • Intel with 80% of the chip market,
  • Google with 65% share of search;
  • YouTube with 45% share of online video sessions market;
  • Oracle with ~48% share of the software database market...

Those in glass houses should not throw stones...

  • The tech industry's push for regulation of broadband will backfire and likely result in regulatory parity for tech and broadband...
  • Tech markets are every bit as concentrated or more concentrated than communications markets.

For tech companies to think that they can get regulation of their broadband competitors and escape comparable restrictions on their own businesses is also a blatant call for a US industrial policy:

  • where the US Government is supposed to choose tech companies as America's preferred "national champions" and the Government should take an active role in picking technologies and winners and losers in the marketplace.

This increasing tech policy view is dumb, naive, wrong-headed and downright dangerous.

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths