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My Forbes Op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers"

To see the first free-market legal argument explaining how Google's market behavior systematically harms consumers under antitrust law, read my Forbes op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers."

  • This is important because Google and its defenders believe the benefits Google provides consumers are the bedrock of a winning antitrust defense.

Few have grasped the huge significance that it is the FTC (with its unique supplemental Section 5 authority) and not the DOJ, that is investigating Google for antitrust.

Most also have missed how vulnerable Google is to the charge that many of its marketing practices are illegal deceptive misrepresentations of its business.

My Forbes op-ed link is here.

FCC Denies the Effective Wireless Competition Staring it in the Face -- Internet Competition Series Part III

In another blow to its competition policy credibility and objectivity, the FCC's 308 page, 15th Wireless Competition Report, amazingly reached no conclusion about whether the wireless market was effectively competitive, despite overwhelming evidence of effective competition throughout the report and a dearth of evidence in the report of any discernible anti-competitive issues that would suggest the wireless market was somehow not effectively competitive.

 

  • The stark incongruity between the overwhelming evidence in the report, and the absence of what should have been an easy report conclusion that the wireless market is effectively competitive, is certainly not "data-driven policy making at work.
  • It appears to be politics at work to support and provide political cover for the FCC's maverick policy desire to promote de-competition policy and more expansive FCC economic regulation and common carrier-like duties a la net neutrality and data roaming -- in the face of strong opposition from Congress and the Courts that the FCC is over-reaching its statutory authority.

 

If only the FCC absorbed the significance of the data compiled in their own report, the FCC would conclude that the wireless market was effectively competitive.

 

FTC-Google Antitrust Primer: Top Ten Q&A

Find an FTC-Google Antitrust Primer here that asks and answers the Top Ten Questions about:

  • Google's admission it has received a subpoena and is under formal investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust violations; and
  • What the FTC is likely investigating and thinking, given that the FTC cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

This primer is based on a combination of new analysis and an update of the best of four years of Google antitrust research, which can be found at: www.Googleopoly.net.

The Top Ten Q&A are:

Google-Admeld: More Gaming of Antitrust Enforcement?

Google's reported purchase of Admeld, described by TechCrunch as "an advertising optimization platform for publishers," appears to be another clever gaming of the antitrust enforcement process by Google to reinforce and extend its core search advertising monopoly.

  • Google appears to believe they have figured out their monopolization-extension formula via antitrust enforcement, and are now in "lather, rinse and repeat" mode.

As I explained in formally opposing Google's acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007, which I believed would help quickly tip Google to monopoly (which it did) by allowing Google to buy the roughly third of user, advertiser and publisher relationships that they did not have, antitrust enforcers focused myopically on the market of the acquired company and missed the monopolization-extension significance and effect of the purchase on substantially augmenting the core Google search advertising monopoly.

Google's exceptionally clever gaming of the antitrust enforcement process here, is a relatively simple and powerful maneuver that only Google can do, because only Google has the near perfect market inside information that its search advertising monopoly provides.

Announcing My New Book: Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

I've long thought there was a big untold story about Google, essentially a book all about Google, but told from a user's perspective, rather than the well-worn path of Google books told largely from Google's own paternal perspective.

 

 

 

Given that Google is the most ubiquitous, powerful and disruptive company in the world, it seemed logical to me that users, and people affected by Google, had a lot of important and fundamental questions about Google that no book had ever tried to answer in a straightforward and well-defended manner.

Google's "Copyright School" Tacitly Admits Liability in Viacom vs YouTube Case

Ironically Google's new "Copyright School" to better educate YouTube users of copyright law and responsibilities, slides Google down the slippery slope of tacitly admitting liability for copyright infringement in Viacom's billion dollar infringement suit against Google-YouTube.   (See Politico's story.)

There are two big takeaways from Google's new "Copyright School."

First, Google continues to basically blame users for copyright infringement while absolving itself of mass facilitation of copyright infringement.

The big open question here is does Google have a "copyright school" for its YouTube engineers/employees and have any of them attended it?

  • It is telling that whenever the company that claims to work for users, gets in trouble, its users' fault not Google's.
  • (Doesn't this sound eerily like Google implying Google's China's security breach was the fault of users not being careful enough?)

Second, why didn't Google do this shortly after it bought YouTube over three years ago?

3 Big Signs Google's Becoming a Conventional Company Under Page

Ironically after Google's Larry Page pledged in the first line of his 2004 IPO letter -- that "Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." -- Google under his new CEO leadership is in fact rapidly becoming much more of a "conventional" company.

Three Big Early Signs from Mr. Page's CEO-ship:

Google's Deceptive "one click away" Antitrust Defense -- Part VIII Google Antitrust Pinocchio Series

As reports swirl that the FTC and DOJ may be considering a formal antitrust investigation of Google, like the EU already launched in November 2010, Google continues its deceptive, one-dimensional, superficial, antitrust defense mantra that "competition is one click away," and that Google is only focused on users and innovation.

 

  • It is telling that just last week the FTC charged Google with deceptive privacy practices, and Google tacitly admitted its public deceptiveness and misrepresentation in submitting to the FCC's consent order; so I am not alone here in charging that Google is deceptive and misrepresents itself to the public.

 

So how is Google's antitrust defense deceptive?

First, Google's stale four-year antitrust mantra that competition is but a click away and Google puts users first, is deceptive because Google knows full well that competition and antitrust involves much more than just users -- as they claim -- but an entire competitive ecosystem.

 

AT&T - T-Mobile: Opponents Have Competition Double Standard

Why is there a selective political fixation on AT&T-T-Mobile's ~43% combined market share when so many related markets are dramatically more concentrated, less competitive, or even monopolized?

  • This blatant competition double standard originates from the political agenda of the FreePress/Silicon Valley net neutrality regulatory complex that seeks a broadband industrial policy -- to create an information commons and generate tens of billions of dollars in implicit bandwidth subsidies for Silicon Valley special interests.

When the FCC does the "data-driven analysis" that it claims to value, it will discover a blatant competition double standard where broadband critics gerrymander and torture broadband market share statistics to raise the specter of a broadband "opoly" -- to justify broadband regulation.

 

  • It is telling that opponents have to bring Verizon, which has nothing to do with the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction, into the equation in order to manufacture market shares of concern.
  • The outrageous and unsubstantiated implication of opponents' "Ma Bell duopoly" narrative here is that broadband competitors will anti-competitively collude, when all the evidence is that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Metro PCS, Leap Wireless and others compete fiercely and relentlessly in multiple dimensions: price, value, device choice, quality, technology, plans, and innovation.

 

Google's No Privacy by Design Business Model

Popular bipartisan interest in safeguarding consumers privacy in the U.S. and Europe confronts Google with a core strategic problem because Google's targeted advertising business model is no "privacy by design" and no "privacy by default."

 

  • Google bet wrong and big in assuming that since technology made it so much easier to track and profile users for targeted advertising, users would just accept the new loss of privacy and users and governments would never enforce user demand for choice to protect their privacy.
  • Google's all-in company bet on openness, transparency, and sharing, was also a strategic bet against robust privacy, security, and property protections.
  • In choosing to brand itself as the penultimate "White Hat" player promoting "openness," Google has effectively designed its business, architecture, and brand to be the main "Black Hat" player on privacy.

 

Google's No Privacy By Design model is unique.

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths