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Antitrust

Oops! Googleopolist's wife talks out of school on pending merger

Investors Business Daily and Pete Barlas had a super antitrust scoop today embedded in its article "Video, Cell, Display Ads get More Google Focus".

The article quoted "Google product manager" Susan Wojcicki, (who also just recently married Google co-founder Sergey Brin), candidly defining the online ad market to reporters.

  • Her blunt public market defintion must have Google's antitrust lawyers absolutely cringing and muttering expletive deleteds.

During a meeting with reporters, IBD quoted Ms. Wojcicki saying:

Looks like Canada may review Google-DoubleClick along with FTC and EC

It seems that our friends up North may also be concerned about the anti-competitive impact of the Google-Double-Click merger.

CIPPIC, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, is requesting that the Canadian authorities review the Google-Double-Click merger to determine if it is anti-competitive.

  • Seems from their filing that they have similar concerns as the FTC and the EC.
  • Could this be evidence of momentum in the growing concern over this merger? Yep. 

I've done a lot of work on the facts surrounding this merger case and am very confident that the more authorities learn about the facts of the case -- the more concerned and troubled they will get about the profound and broad implications this merger portends for the future of the Internet business model for accessing content.

Who is America's most notorious scofflaw?

The outrage over Google-Youtube's complicity in rampant content theft and piracy continues to spread around the world.

    • "A coalition of Japanese television, music and film companies slammed YouTube Thursday, saying the online video sharing service was not doing enough to rid the site of cartoons and other clips that infringe copyright." ...
    • "There is no middle ground," Matsutake said. "We demand that all copyrighted material be removed immediately."

Let's focus on the corporate scofflaw pattern here: American, Japanese, and European content owners accross a wide swath of content industries are all outraged and suing Google for theft.

"Google-aganda:" Do as I say not as I do" See great Network World piece

Johna Till Johnson of Network World, has got Google's number in the article "Net Neutrality? Google, go first!"

  • "Forget "don't be evil" -- Google's real motto is: "Just trust us (and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain).""

    "Sorry, fellas, I'm not the trusting sort. And I always worry about the man behind the curtain. The reality behind the propaganda is this: The "open" company's considerable fortunes are based around the world's most proprietary search engine. And as for "neutral" -- try Googling Google, and you may notice something surprising: very few negative comments on the company pop up. Odd, no?"

Googleopoly -- can you say "predatory cross-subsidization"?

For those following the FTC's Google-DoubleClick merger review (and whether my prediction in my Googleopoly.net white paper that the FTC will block this merger is on the mark), this link to an article called "Google's Killer App" is a current and real life case study of how Google anti-competitively forecloses competition in the markets adjacent to them.

  • Or in other words, this article raises the question: can "free" ever be a bad thing or anti-competitive?

This excellent case study article is by Brandt Dainow, a web analytics competitor to Google who has conceded that:

"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 are the specific anti-competitive effects of Google-DoubleClick?

The antitrust relevance of yesterday's New York Times reported quote: " ...marketers increasingly want to combine their purchases of search and display advertising." has really quite profound implications for the pending Google-Double-Click deal.

 

What that quote does is zero in on what really matters to FTC antitrust authorities -- how would the transaction actually change the current competitive dynamic, or more specifically, how would the merger "substantially lessen competition," which is the legal standard for approving/disapproving mergers.

Googleopoly evidence growing #1: Yahoo's search/display problem

Google tries to maintain that search and display advertising are separate markets and not direct competitors.

It appears Yahoo would beg to differ.

Today's New York Times reported:

  • "...Yahoo recently shook up its ad sales force, combining into a single unit its search advertising and display advertising." 

  • "Mr. Barry said that the reorganization would probably help Yahoo in the long term, as marketers increasingly want to combine their purchases of search and display advertising." [bold added]

Great WSJ Editorial on Google: "Sort of Evil" Will consumer groups tune in?

Please don't miss Holman Jenkin's great Wall Street Journal editorial on Google: "Sort of Evil."

I particularly like his new term for net neutrality/open access regulation: "business model chauvinism." Dead on.

  • Google is lobbying for laws and regulations which will advantage their business model and further their dominance of Internet advertising, and also to "block, degrade and impair" any other business model from competing with Google.
    • Simply, Google has a very sophisticated strategy to foreclose potential competition to Google.

He also points the spotlight on what Google is really doing in organizing groups to view broadband companies as the big public enemy for things they might do in the future, and how that conveniently distracts people from scrutinizing Google's own increasing dominance of online advertising and the business model of the Internet. 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths