I kept this post as draft since I read Wired’s article about Google and their supposed dominant position. Today I read again about the new investigation of US Antitrust targeting bigG because it holds too much market share in online advertising and advertisers are getting upset. I can’t understand why an antitrust agency is taking care of this. How is Google harming consumers? This seems to me a totally different case than the Microsoft antitrust judgement. With Microsoft, consumers were being harmed directly left with little to no choice to use their products in order to have ‘compatibility’. At that time, I think that antitrust bodies had a clear case: Microsoft dominance and abusive business practices were removing options to consumers.
With Google the case seems very different: advertisers are free to stop advertising on Google any time they want. Contrary to Microsoft, Google cannot leverage any network effect to keep Internet users (the ‘consumers’) to stop using Google for search. I can go and use Bing any time I want: Google search uses an open standard, it’s a freakin web site. The simplest thing Microsoft has to do in order to take 40% of Internet users’ search is to pay a sufficient amount of money to Mozilla, and voilà: all Firefox users will have Bing as default search engine.
Same thing with many other Googl services. If you don’t like Gmail anymore you can take all of its archive, contacts, and everything else and move it somewhere else: open standards (IMAP) at work again.
And, should Microsoft not want to pay Mozilla, Google’s search engine can start to suck any time or more privacy issues may arise, and users will move to the next best one (didn’t we all move to Google from Altavista already?)
What am I failing to see in these new wave of antitrust complaints against Google?