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Implications for Google-DoubleClick of Microsoft losing antitrust appeal

So what are the implications of Microsoft losing its antitrust appeal in the EU's Appeals court -- which was a page one story in all the major papers?

More and different than most may think.

The EU is signalling in it's harsh treatment of Microsoft, that the EU is going to be tough on "dominant" firms. 

  • Is it coincidental that all the "dominant' firms the EU is heavily investigating, Microsoft/Media player, Apple ipod/itunes, Intel are all AMERICAN firms? 
  • The not-so-hidden-subtext of the EU's "competition" and antitrust policy is to "level the playing field" for smaller European companies by hog-tying American industry leaders when they do business in Europe. 
    • A great side benefit for the European companies of this EU tactic is to decrease the scale and scope efficiencies that leading American companies enjoy by forcing them into duplicative and redundant offerings, one for the US and one for Europe.

So what does this have to do with Google?

  • Tons.
  • EU concern with Microsoft/MediaPlayer and Apple/itunes heavily revolve around European parochial concerns about CONTENT and CULTURE.
    • While the EU has politically, economically, and financially integrated, they jealously guard and will not integrate the "culture" or "content" of individual EU nations -- because content is key to each individual EU nation's identity, language, and distinct culture.
  • If Europeans are obviously worried about the "Americanization" of European media/programming and music through the lens of media player and itunes, what do you think the Europeans ultimate concern will be over Google, the ultimate Americanizing business influence in the world.
    • America has a much bigger cultural market than any of the individual and distinct cultures in the EU.
    • Google's and Doubleclick's algorithmic bias in search is to present searchers with the most popular content for any query.
      • Almost by definition, the most popular results that will show up when Europeans search whatever, will be overwhelmingly "American" culture.
    • With Google dominating 90% of Germany's searches, 90% of Spain's searches, 75% of the UK's searches, these proud and distinct cultures are being rapidly Americanized in their content.
      • Its also important to factor in that in most all international trade negotiations, digital content, i.e. Internet content, is being carved out so that individual countries can bias or favor their own cultural content over foreign content.
        • In other words "cultural content" is different and special and is not subject to the same "free market' protections other products and services are.

Bottomline: If Google is not sweating bullets over what these EU antitrust/trade developments mean for Google long term, Google has their head in the sand.

  • In the future, Google will easily replace Microsoft and Apple as the EU's American target because Google's search dominance for all types of content makes Google the unspoken Minister of Internet Culture for every EU nation.
    • And these nations do not like it.
    • This makes the French absolutely crazy. 
  • The EU certainly does not like this increasingly rapid "Americanization" of their cultures.
  • It is only a matter of time, that the EU will lasso Google into its European corral for some good ole EU-specific "branding."
    • Google doesn't know it yet, but in the Google-DoubleClick merger, Google has given the EU an easy mechanism to further fight the "Americanization" of Europe.
      • Being the dominant "cultural filter" of how Europeans access their "content" could prove to be an explosive political problem for Google long term.
      • Google will soon learn the truism: "all politics are local."   

 

  

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