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Evidence Alphabet-Google Expects an Adverse EU Android Antitrust Remedy

This quarter EU antitrust authorities are expected to rule that Google is illegally dominant in the markets for licensable smart mobile operating systems and app stores for the Android mobile operating system, because Google evidently abused its dominance by contractually requiring Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to install only Google search and make it the default search engine.

Importantly, this expected EU Android ruling occurs in the context of the EU’s seminal antitrust decision last June that: 1) ruled Google’s search services were dominant; 2) ruled Google abused that dominance by giving illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service; 3) fined Google a record $2.7b; 4) imposed a cease and desist order on Google to stop this illegal behavior in 90 days (or face additional fines of up to 5% of Alphabet’s revenues); and 5) imposed a remedy that requires that rival comparison shopping services get treatment equal to what Google provides itself, a requirement that Google apparently has not been respecting.

What this all suggests is that the next ruling, fines, and remedies that the EU will consider in the Android case, are likely to be more adverse to Alphabet-Google’s business and model than the previous one.

The U.S. Internet Isn’t a Free Market or Competitive It’s Industrial Policy

 

In 16 minutes I overview for you why there is a woefully incomplete understanding of the U.S. Internet’s three “Standard Oil-like” monopolizations (Google, Amazon, and Facebook) and the four cartelization dynamics these three monopolies have collectively spawned. I also spotlight why there is virtually no understanding of the root cause of these artificial and anticompetitive outcomes. Please see this link to a video (2:30-19:05) courtesy of The Capitol Forum and CQ’s Fourth Annual Tech, Media, and Telecom Competition Conference on December 13, 2017.

My remarks at this conference summarize and expand on my White paper entitled: “America’s Antitrust Enforcement Credibility Crisis: America’s three enduring intermedia monopolies and four market cartelizations are a result of lax, asymmetric antitrust law enforcement & America’s anticompetitive Internet-first industrial policy.”

Ad Hoc Neutrality Isn’t Neutral, It Is Discriminatory and Unfair

 

For a neutrality or non-discrimination principle to have legitimacy, it must be applied neutrally and non-discriminatorily itself, because everyone knows true neutrality means not taking sides.

Non-neutral application of a net neutrality policy takes sides and thus is discriminatory and unfair, the exact opposite of net neutrality’s purported purpose and the definition of its signature word.

Arguably, most all the controversies and conflicts over net neutrality for the last fifteen years have resulted from a supposed neutrality principle applied non-neutrally, to favor Internet intermediary distribution networks like Google, Amazon and Facebook, and cloud computing networks, like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, over legacy communications and content networks.

Today the FCC, in voting 3-2 for the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, is legitimately implementing net neutrality in a neutral fashion, i.e. treating similar information services similarly with the same light touch, under the same market transparency enforcement oversight at the FTC, and not taking sides by non-neutrally, picking winners and losers from the start.

Net Neutrality’s Masters of Misdirection

On net neutrality, we have all been tricked by the masters of misdirection.

For many years Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the Internet Association have deftly misdirected the media’s and government’s attention away from their unaccountable market power, discriminatory models and practices, and real consumer protection problems, towards the potential for discrimination by legacy-regulated, competitive, broadband providers.

The masterful misdirection becomes painfully obvious when one looks at the facts.

First, it’s the supposedly “competitive” Internet “edge” that is hyper-dominant and hyper-concentrated, and it is America’s broadband industry that is the most competitive in the world.

NetCompetition: To Advance Internet Openness & Freedom, FCC Transparently Leads by Example

NetCompetition: To Advance Internet Openness & Freedom, FCC Transparently Leads by Example

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 21, 2017, Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

 

Kudos to the Pai FCC for Unprecedented Transparency in Restoring Internet Openness & Freedom

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

 

“We look forward to reading with the public the FCC’s proposed Restore Internet Freedom Order tomorrow, three weeks before a public vote. This is how a good government regulatory process works, and how leading by example is done -- letting everyone see what is being voted on, three weeks before the vote, so that those affected can exercise their constitutional and due process rights of assembly and petitioning their government, and then the FCC Commissioners can consider the public’s input, and then vote.”

 

“This open and transparent Pai FCC process is in stark contrast to how the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order process was handled, where the public and those most affected, could not see or discuss what the FCC actually voted on, until weeks after the FCC voted, when their views were moot.”

 

Treat Cause Not Symptom of Google & Facebook’s Election Unaccountability -- Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my Daily Calller op-ed: “Treat The Cause Not the Symptom of Google & Facebook’s Election Unaccountability.”

Asymmetric Absurdity in Communications Law & Regulation

You can’t make this stuff up.

Asymmetric Realities: The five most valuable companies – Apple $802b, Alphabet-Google $688b, Microsoft $585b, Facebook $500b, and Amazon $475b – are together worth an unprecedented $3 trillion and widely-appreciated to be dominant in the communications-driven businesses of smartphones, search advertising, subscription business productivity software, social advertising, and ecommerce platform services respectively.

In Washington’s theater of the absurd, these well-known, winner-take-all platforms, are playing the role of victims of potential harms, that supposedly can’t afford to shoulder the potential risks for the potential net neutrality problems that they allege are potentially serious, when they produce $131b annually in free cash flow and have $357b in cash (mostly overseas).

Online-Offline Asymmetric Regulation Is Winner-Take-All Government Policy

Online-offline asymmetric regulation is the biggest persistent competition problem in the economy for the next decade. 

Asymmetric commercial treatment by the Government predictably produces asymmetric market outcomes. Everyone knows how an unfair playing field or unfair rules of the game produce favored winners and disfavored losers.

Internet myth is that Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and their “intermedia” Internet Association brethren deserve to be winner-take-all because they are more innovative and better for consumers than offline companies.

The reality is that these companies common “winner-take-all special sauce” is old-fashioned regulatory arbitrage, of its special Section 230 intermediary immunity from liability, regulation, and accountability.

To date, the intermedia’s decade-long, bankrolling and public leadership of the Title II net neutrality regulation of broadband effort, has been a spectacularly effective diversion of public and government attention from the intermedia’s regulatory arbitrage of their winner-take-all, asymmetric regulation advantages.

Google Amazon & Facebook’s Section 230 Immunity Destructive Double Standard

Congress is learning a predictable lesson that blanket immunization of a technology from accountability to law enforcement, and normal societal responsibility to others, creates unjust and destructive outcomes from a double standard of justice.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb are also learning a predictable lesson that opposing the unopposable for self-serving business reasons spotlights their increasingly indefensible “Monopoly” “get-out-of-jail-free” card, Section 230 immunity, that’s available only in the U.S. for online platforms.

This lesson is happening because a bipartisan Senate bill -- the “Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act” (SESTA S.1693) -- proposes to amend Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to clarify that its immunization of online platforms from liability was never intended to shield knowing enablement of child sex trafficking from criminal prosecution.

Tuesday, a Senate Commerce Committee hearing will spotlight the gravity and depravity of how this well-intentioned, Internet-infancy, law to advance freedom of speech online, has caused unacceptable unintended consequences today for the most vulnerable among us.

There’s No Freedom of Speech to Enable Sex Trafficking of Children

With freedom comes responsibility.

A Tuesday Senate hearing on the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act, SESTA, S.1693, will spotlight the strong objections of intermedia platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb, which oppose it as a slippery slope towards being subjected to the same public accountability standards as offline companies. 

SESTA is a bipartisan bill that seeks to narrowly amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, to clarify that Section 230’s immunity from intermediary liability was never meant to immunize sex trafficking as a form of protected freedom of speech. 

The problem SESTA targets is best explained by a 2017 report by Consumer Watchdog and the Faith and Freedom Coalition, that spotlights how child sex trafficking effectively is enabled and legally protected in America via Section 230 immunity.  

The report documents how “for years, one company – Backpage.com – has dominated online trafficking in minors for sex;” and how Backpage is suspected to be involved in “73% of all suspected sex trafficking reports in the U.S.”

The 48-page report also chronicles in detail how Alphabet-Google has long bankrolled and organized much of Backpage’s legal support that has enabled Backpage to evade justice for several years by exploiting Section 230’s sweeping immunities from online intermediary liability. 

Trust in Google was built in part on the promise in its uniquely unequivocal “don’t be evil” corporate motto. 

If Google doesn’t consider purposeful enablement of child sex trafficking evil, what does it consider evil?

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths