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Responding to Art Brodsky's broadside on my credibility and integrity on Huffington Post

Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge comes to Google's defense in an extensive broadside attack on my credibility and integrity because I have the gall to stand up to one of his patrons -- Google -- by testifying tomorrow at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust -- where I will show in great detail why the Google-DoubleClick merger is anti-competitive and why I recommend that it should be blocked by the FTC. Stay tuned.

Mr. Brodsky is not the first person to come after me for my provocative forward-thinking and unconventional views, nor will he be the last.

  • As a long time leading antitrust analyst, I predicted that the DOJ would block the WorldCom-Sprint merger and the then WorldCom CEO set out to destroy my credibility and routinely derided me as "the idiot Washington analyst." I have been in the the "Washington kitchen" for many years and I can take the heat.

Let's deconstruct Art's multiple attacks on my credibility one by one.

First, Mr. Brodsky thinks it is curious that I am a witness before this committee on an antitrust matter. If Mr. Brodsky would only have "Google-d" me and the subcommittee he would have learned that I have testified on mergers and other matters before this subcommittee three times before. Is it "curious" that they find me a compelling and useful witness that they keep inviting me back?

Second, Mr. Brodsky claims my interest in Google is recent. Once again, Mr. Brodsky hasn't done his homework. In my bio and elsewhere it is clear that I was Founder and CEO of the now defunct Precursor Group, the Institutional Investor #1 independent research firm in telecom and #2 in tech in 2004 and 2005. As CEO I ultimately was responsible for all our research including that covering Google. I was analyzing Google from its very early years and know the company very very well.

  • Anyone who wishes to check up on my knowledge of Google, its competitive position and the anti-competitive effects of the Google-DoubleClick deal only need to go to www.googleopoly.net to see and judge for themselves whether or not my analysis is substantive or credible. From what I have been told it is the most comprehensive and coherent analysis of the merger in the public domain. Check that assertion out for yourself.

Third, Mr. Brodsky then goes on to lament why his patron saint company, "do no evil" Google, is getting tarnished in Washington.

  • As Chairman of NetCompetition.org, an e-forum that represents broadband companies who oppose regulation of broadband Internet -- I have often needed to counter Google's outrageous double standard in its regulatory crusade to only regulate Google's most formidable competitors while maintaining that these regulations should not "neutrally" apply to Google's Internet access technologies. 
    • Google remains highly vulnerable to a wide assortment of hypocrises based on the facts. Facts hurt the most Mr. Brodsky. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I regularly back up my analysis with information and facts from mainstream sources.

Fourth, Mr. Brodsky charges that the Google-DoubleClick merger is "somewhat far afield from his background in traditional telecom issues." May I suggest that Mr Brodsky look to my Precursor LLC website, www.precursor.com to see that my specialty and focus is forward thinking at the intersection/collision of market, policy, and technology for "techcom" companies. Google-DoubleClick is one of the most important forward-looking "techcom" issues for market/policy/technology that has come up in a long time. Being a widely-recognized expert in convergence and the future of communications and the Internet, this merger is not a all "afield" for me, it is smack at the center of my professional and advertised wheelhouse!

 

Finally, I am glad that Mr. Brodsky digs up some archeological quotes from 1999, the pre-broadband era before the emergence of broadband competition. Mr. Brodsky naively thinks he is undermining my credibility on these matters by playing "gotcha" with a historical quote. I am well-known as an independent and strong-willed analyst who stands up to my convictions even when it is not popular. My policy views also evolve with changes in the factual paradigm -- as any objective thinker's views do.

In the early years of the Internet, 1999, the monopoly "dial-up" era, I certainly opposed denial of Internet access very publicly -- when their was virtually no competition. But since about 2002, broadband competition has exploded. Internet access is no longer a monopoly access problem like it is with utilities like water, electricity, and gas. Technology changes and innovation created new opportunities for competition which did not exist before. Facts also change and as a long-time respected analyst, I am driven by the facts.

  • The facts are that the US has more facilities-based broadband competition than any nation in the world. Far from the broadband duopoly Mr. Brodsky often charges, the broadband Internet access market is more than competitive enough to not warrant intrusive monopoly regulation like "net neutrality" that Mr. Brodsky advocates. The US has the only national broadband overbuilder in the world, cable, which reaches 94% of the country. DSL is available to most of the country and its prices and speeds have fallen greatly. The US has no less than five national broadband wireless players. We will lead the world in WiMax. Satellite offers competitive broadband access in hard to reach places. BPL is an increasingly impressive broadband technology. And the US has more WiFi hotspots than any nation in the world. There is no monopoly broadband Internet access problem! Broadband competition is fierce and increasing every day.

So Mr. Brodsky, my views do change as the facts and analysis change, that is part of what makes me credible. While I have been a consistent free market advocate, I also have a well-known track record of opposing exercise of monopoly power and for supporting antitrust enforcement when the facts dictate it -- like in the Google-DoubleClick merger. 

Finally, Mr. Brodsky, everyone would be better served if we focused on the facts and merits of the debate. I urge you and others to read my work at www.precursorblog.com or www.googleopoly.net and judge my work, my positions, and analysis on the merits and not conduct "the politics of personal destruction."  

Bottom-line: This is really just clever misdirection to distract reporters and bloggers from covering the hearing and listening to the issue on the merits.

  • If there is nothing wrong with the merger, why is Google afraid of having a "free and open" debate on the antitrust merits of the Google-DoubleClick merger?
  • What's Google got to hide? 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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