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"It is time to break up Google (GOOG)," writes Richard Sennett of the London School of...

"It is time to break up Google (GOOG)," writes Richard Sennett of the London School of Economics. "The problem is simple: the company is just too powerful, as are Apple (AAPL) and many other big tech groups." Sennett harks back to when the Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil in 1911, when "an overmighty business was shattered into 33 shards." He also cites the progressives of a century ago, such as Herbery Croly, who believed that successful start-ups would extinguish competition and become monopolies. Breaking them up "would set talent free."
Comments (88)
  • Citing Progressives of a century ago? Progressives have killed America. Study their history.
    30 Jun 2013, 09:11 AM Reply Like
  • Please elaborate.


    Women's suffrage, political corruption reform, muckracker journalism...


    I call BS.
    30 Jun 2013, 10:04 AM Reply Like
  • So child labor laws destroyed America? Social security? EPA? You have an ant's brain. Move to China, you'll love it there, except it's only a matter of time until people there demand some of the protections Western workers achieved through progressivism.


    Socialism wouldn't exist if early capitalists hadn't treated workers, including white collar workers, worse than stray dogs. People do what they need to do for a better life. Read some history.
    30 Jun 2013, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Oh oh you opened that big can of worms... Good luck. Maybe the Fed and tax code?
    30 Jun 2013, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • So you blame the Capitalist for Socialism? That’s like blaming America for 9/11. Or blaming the victim that they provoked the killer
    30 Jun 2013, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • > Or blaming the victim that they provoked the killer


    So socialism killed capitalism? Do elaborate with referenced facts, please?


    Let's not forget, getting back on the topic of monopolies, the very logical end state of /unrestrained/ capitalism is very obviously a monopoly.


    Put simply: when there's competition, eventually someone wins. And once they win they can (and will) do very uncapitalist things.


    Pure capitalism is quite perverse in this way, it inevitably results in the antithesis of the very things that it purports to advocate.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • China has the "perfect" legal code. Enforcement is dubious ...
    30 Jun 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • Is the country bankrupt now or is it close to it. $14T in debt and climbing. Out of control social programs that can never be funded. There isn't that much money in the world. So what do socialists do they print worthless paper and cal it money. Is it worth as much as it was 10 years ago NO. The government and the socialists have screwed everybody by giving more and more with no means to pay. There answer is to tax the rich except even if you took all the money from the so called rich you still would not pay off the debt. If you used a little research you would find that we are borrowing money be issuing bonds to pay the interest on bonds we that are already issued.
    30 Jun 2013, 01:09 PM Reply Like
  • There are alternatives to Apple, alternatives to Google. Nothing more need be said on the matter.


    Monopolies are by nature unstable, they enforce iniquitous costs on their customers and have to be maintained by force of government. Remove the government backing and they collapse.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:52 PM Reply Like
  • Interest payments have varied between $200 bil and $400 bil. Not a huge percentage of budgets that have been over $3.3 trillion in recent years, but still too high. Medicare, Medicaid, and SS all drive the growth in spending, we need to reign those cost escalations in if we want to have a sustainable society.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:54 PM Reply Like
  • We need more people working for a living than voting for one.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • Yes I concur ...
    30 Jun 2013, 03:07 PM Reply Like
  • Agreed


    I believe it is said best:


    " When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. "

    30 Jun 2013, 03:52 PM Reply Like
  • Spot on as Progressive tendencies grow America dies. Only was to stop it is destroy Progressives.
    30 Jun 2013, 05:26 PM Reply Like
  • And exactly how do you suggest to destroy progressives?


    What a bunch of elementary and foolish comments. You guys really that chapped about life? Pity. Pity.
    30 Jun 2013, 07:03 PM Reply Like
  • Actually Social security very likely will be what ultimately breaks America and our debt (particularly unfunded future obligations) may be the greatest risk to America' national security.
    1 Jul 2013, 12:09 AM Reply Like
  • Political corruption reform? A lot of good that has done. Our system is more corrupt today than it has ever been.
    1 Jul 2013, 12:09 AM Reply Like
  • Last time I looked social security has about 10 years left before it goes bankrupt. The EPA was crucifying businesses just to set an example to announce their presents. The progressive IRS is out of control with taxer money. The health care laws were distributing birth control to children and killing babies in and out of the womb. Don't talk to me about stupid child labor laws. Socialism is finally running out of other people's money with a $17 Trillion national debt. The education system is falling apart and most of the progressively run cities in the country are in serious trouble. Give me a break!


    Progressivism has given us 17% real unemployment. 25% black unemployment. 40% of Americans on welfare. A health care plan that will destroy this country. It is YOU that should read your HISTORY! This is unsustainable. History will repeat it self again. Socialism, progressivism, communism is a utopian dream that has failed every time it has been tried.
    Oh... and before you tell me that much of this is BUSH's fault, I will say to you he was a Republican progressive.
    1 Jul 2013, 01:43 AM Reply Like
  • I want to take issue with an analogy of Google or Apple today, to Standard Oil in 1911. Google is "one big well". Server search records and analytics are a single huge data mine that only works as a whole.


    So separate search from ads?? Search creates the traffic so ads can work, they're inseparable.


    As to Motorola mobility, what power does it hold?


    Oh, yeah, Android. Too late, they gave it away.


    Apps on mobile devices are disruptive to search. They connect directly bypassing search.


    Unless they adapt, data mining technology, like Watson, incorporated into search, will replace them. As computing power increases eventually the latency experienced by this type of AI will become tolerable and the results generally worth the wait.


    Only an academic could find themselves so far removed from reality and be quoted in the press.
    1 Jul 2013, 02:45 AM Reply Like
  • "the Capitalist"? Are you kidding?


    I said early capitalists. How do you think socialism started? Communism actually started with St. Ambrose who interpreted the Fall in Genesis as the birth of private property.


    Gross inequities in the early Industrial Revolution spawned socialism, just as I said.


    Read some history, you're a total dupe.
    1 Jul 2013, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • "...the Capitalist..."? Are you kidding?


    I said "early capitalists" - gross social inequities in the Industrial Revolution spawned socialism. How do you think socialism started?


    Read some history before making silly comments.
    1 Jul 2013, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • Well said, gmmpa.
    1 Jul 2013, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • Last time I looked socialism hadn't been given a try yet in the U.S. Having government serve the interests of the wealthy is what has worsened our predicament and ballooned our debt. IF the government served the interests of all the citizenry, we would have more progressive taxes, less debt, more employment, less income hiding offshore, a stronger manufacturing base, better employer/employee relations, cleaner air and water, and a genuine lead in renewable energy-- the only energy sources that are going to survive.
    2 Jul 2013, 10:48 PM Reply Like
  • Intellectually brilliant use of the term "ant brain" when you offer Social Security and EPA as if nothing further needs to be said to defend progressivism. Next it's capitalists baaad, unions gooood. There appears to be a few gaps in your read of history. Monopolies are evil and that goes for anti trust exempt unions as well as any other monopoly. Speaking of monopolies, there is not a more dangerous monopoly in the universe than the favorite tool of progressives, the federal government.
    3 Jul 2013, 12:57 PM Reply Like
  • Stupid idea. Punish successful companies and spread the wealth.
    30 Jun 2013, 09:21 AM Reply Like
  • we would never have won the War if it weren't for capitalism and capitalists. but i simply don't understand this day and age. today these same people seem to stand opposed to everything we do. are there no Americans of any worth in their eyes anymore?
    30 Jun 2013, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Antitrust populism rearing its ugly head.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:07 PM Reply Like
  • This is the dumbest thing Ive read in awhile.
    30 Jun 2013, 09:36 AM Reply Like
  • An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's.
    - Will Rogers
    30 Jun 2013, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • I think it's healthy to raise and discuss these issues periodically, especially in the information industry where previous legal precedents are difficult to analogize.


    However I don't think it's time, at least not yet.


    Section 2 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act requires two criteria, per precedent:


    (1) the possession of monopoly power in the relevant market and
    (2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.


    So the legal question really is this:
    Area GOOG and AAPL on top because they have monopolies, rather than being on top because they're really the best in their markets?


    And the more general question is this:
    Are they causing undue harm by their dominant market positions?


    I would say "no" and "no".


    From a competition standpoint, the only actual monopoly present here is Google in the search market. They basically have no realistic competition. But arguably it's because their search tools are still the best.


    Elsewhere, Google has plenty of competition in its other markets.


    Apple does as well. They still hold less than 20% of the PC market, and are minority holders of the cell phone market as well (at least globally). Perhaps they dominate the personal music player market (I don't know those numbers offhand), but again, it's probably because their products are still the best.


    So what harm is being done? Are they engaging in unfair competition practices? Are they creating artificial shortages or oversupply?


    What's more, let's not forget that the products of Google and Apple are mostly non-essential consumer products. Big oil was broken up and regulated because it was (and is) basically a necessity for economic function.


    While the internet is a similar necessity these days, an iphone is not, nor are ads on Google.
    30 Jun 2013, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • I agree with much of what you wrote. Sennett's comment lacks principle. Without it the rule of law fails, and any government can use vague threats to impose its will, which might not be the people's, and in the process stifle innovation and creativity.


    What might sharpen the principle is a revisit of our patent laws. Much of the patent litigation in high technology is uselessly expensive for society. It is one thing to protect the innovation of a drug that, today, costs billions of dollars to develop to a salable product, and another to protect an innovation that required little capital. That said, Google is an extraordinary research engine. There in lies its strength as a company. That is its moat.
    30 Jun 2013, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • wonderful comment D. Also, my first question when I read the headline was, google only has one profitable business: search. What is there to break up?! Also, I wonder if this reasoning properly applies to search. What good would it do anyone to be forced to use other search engines? Google is like a highway system, would commuters really be served by having to use back roads?
    30 Jun 2013, 10:49 AM Reply Like
  • > What good would it do anyone to be forced to use other
    > search engines?


    What's more, as a /user/ of Google's search, it's FREE.


    Yes it costs the advertisers (and I'm not familiar enough with that industry to comment but I presume they have other avenues with which to advertise..personally I've literally never clicked a Google ad), but it's hard to cry monopoly when the service is free.


    (Although arguably we all 'pay' by giving Google our data, search trends, etc. But thus far this has proven to be an acceptable price.)
    30 Jun 2013, 10:54 AM Reply Like
  • my great grandchildren just gave a me a cell phone and i must say the thing scares me. i thanked them of course...but i prefer my gardening.
    30 Jun 2013, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • You are part of Google's product offering. Google's customers are the *advertisers*.


    "But thus far this has proven to be an acceptable price."


    You haven't seen the bill yet.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • D- how do you know your value? It's proven acceptable? Not even possible! You have never clicked an ad? I promise that is not true and based on all the other comments, you would probably like to know the truth. Look into it a bit more and you will see how much content you have helped monetize, how much value you are worth to the connected world of google and its grip on a vast majority of monetized 'personal commodities' across the tech world. Even so, your Internet provider has far more info about you unless you have opted out. Have you opted out? I did not on purpose and utilize techniques to ID who sold what data to who. It's an awesome experiment to try, simply create a new electronic ID on a new device, new user names, new provider, etc. and behave as any character/person. I think you will get much value and insight from this. I do not think Google needs any breaking up, just FYI.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:41 PM Reply Like
  • > D- how do you know your value?


    *MY* value is greater than anything else in the universe, I assure you. ;-)


    And no, I've never clicked a Google ad. When I want to buy something online, I search for it proactively (via Google Shopping or directly on


    From my own personal perspective, I truly don't understand the advertisers' belief that all the online ads work so well, but they must have the data to back it up, so presumably there are plenty of people who click ads, I'm just not one of them.


    Opting out is a good point, and yes, I opt out of every service I have to the extent that I can -- an extent that is being offered less and less in recent years, I'm sorry to say.


    I'm certain Google knows what I search for, what I buy, what I talk about with people via email, what my favorite food is, etc, etc, etc.


    But I have yet to feel unjustly marketed to or otherwise abused by whatever data they've gathered from me. I see some sponsored links at the top of my search results, but I ignore them. I get some junk mail, but I throw it away. No big deal.


    If there's some horrific end game, it certainly hasn't materialized yet, not for me. I'm getting value out of their services, they're getting value out of my data (or at least they seem to think they are), so let's just call it even. :-)
    30 Jun 2013, 03:57 PM Reply Like
  • People don't realize how many non-secured processes and people their personal data goes through and how it exposes them to potential security breaches and potential criminal activity. Somebody has access to quite a bit of the information about you even when they attempt to send you something as innocuous as junk mail. That information is bought, stored and sold with the lowest of barriers to access.
    30 Jun 2013, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • Back roads? Bing is every bit the highway as Google as far as I can tell. I've been using it for a year or so and have never had a reason to go back to Google.


    I don't see a reason to break up Google unless and until Android becomes 90% of the worlds Mobile OS and it uses it's power to keep competitors away by giving away an electronic payment system or something like that.
    30 Jun 2013, 07:35 PM Reply Like
  • Progressiveness is good, but let’s not forgot that Communism and Socialism are also a “progressive by-product” and thanks to the conservatives America was saved from that horror.
    30 Jun 2013, 10:44 AM Reply Like
  • > Socialism are also a “progressive by-product”


    Many developed nations with significant socialist aspect do quite well.


    Modern US politics has turned it into a boogeyman buzzword to elicit a Pavlovian reaction (which likely includes an equivalent amount of drooling as per Pavlov's dogs), but many elements of socialism work quite well in many modern nations.


    > thanks to the conservatives America was saved from that horror


    This is a a number of logical fallacies in play here -- actually it may not even qualify as logical at all....please defend this statement with factual references?
    30 Jun 2013, 10:52 AM Reply Like
  • if we are going to have a discussion, lets work with the same definitions in mind. There are many, potentially infinite varieties of "socialism" depending on what powers and duties are given to the state or social agent. If the state is given the means to sustainably provide things everyone needs: like quality general education and health care, all the power to it.


    If the state is given the power to tell me exactly what to do or not do in every moment of life, that's tyranny.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • The garbage you write cloaked in some sort of a pseudo-intellectual form attempting to provide merit to the economic failure of socialism is not working. It is not possible to wish socialism a success.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:14 PM Reply Like
  • "If the state is given the means to sustainably provide things everyone needs: like quality general education and health care, all the power to it. "


    Yea because that has worked so well over the course of human history. NJ votes a democratic legislature in year in and year out, and Newark, Camden, and Trenton all have failing school systems, while still spending the highest $ amount per student in the state. More bureaucracy isnt the answer to a failing policy. Families and communities raise and educate children, not some all powerful government.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:00 PM Reply Like
  • "If the state is given the means to sustainably provide things everyone needs"


    The "state" has no "means" - property, be it money or other assets, belong to the citizenry. Without taking property from individuals, the "state" has no "means."
    30 Jun 2013, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • Mike,


    My neighbor is also my child's teacher. She works at a one of these "all powerful government schools". See how stupid you look now?
    30 Jun 2013, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • I've seen the light.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • you are so wise.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • Jake,


    That your neighbor is a teacher in no way negates Mike's points. The "all powerful government schools" keep throwing more and more money at education and get more failure and dropouts than ever before.


    Family life, and to a lesser extent "community" condition / involvement is very important in a child's education. More money does nothing but make the problems worse, apparently.
    30 Jun 2013, 05:54 PM Reply Like
  • Jake,


    My statement does not contain the statement "all powerful government schools." My statement was to the effect that government "solutions" do not always work, and it takes more than a government system to properly raise productive members of society. Perhaps you should have your neighbor brush you up on reading comprehension.


    Also, I think the fact that your child's teacher is also their neighbor further makes my point, rather than refutes it. Children are not taught all they need to know between 8-3 180 days a year. The statement "it takes a village to raise a child" still applies. The idea that a government can provide all that everyone needs is a false one.
    30 Jun 2013, 10:42 PM Reply Like
  • Jake- With developments in the world today, your union job is in jeopardy.
    1 Jul 2013, 12:42 PM Reply Like
  • Some truth there. There ares of dozens names/labels in the medical supply business but when you do a little research all of em are owned by 2 or 3 very large conglomerates who control product and price structure of all the labels. Consumers lose Wasn't like that decades ago. Same in insurance industry and other sectors
    30 Jun 2013, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • Breaking up oil companies is far different than breaking up companies dealing with increasingly integrated and networked technologies.


    When one made multiple oil companies out of Standard Oil, the impact on the function and utility of oil was completely unaffected. Oil only needed to be consumed, not fit into any sophisticated integrated network and work in harmony with multiple technologies and products. Computer and information technology is exactly the opposite; it cannot exist alone in any meaningful fashion.


    Google and Apple, in particular, has excelled because they have been able to integrate products and applications into an efficient networked experience, encompassing multiple modalities and products. It's this integration that is the real product, not the various parts and businesses that encompass the periphery.


    Balkanizing, by fiat, the Apple and Google universes would not necessarily unleash any improved products. It would more likely lead to less efficient integration of information and more competition and lack of uniformity among industry standards, none of which would benefit the end-user experience in any obvious way.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:03 AM Reply Like
  • While I don't support a breakup per my legal arguments above, as probably the only techie on the thread, I feel obliged to chime in on standards.


    Breaking up companies like Google and Apple might contribute MORE to open standards, and would indeed benefit the consumer more.


    Apple, for example, is the new king of proprietary formats, somewhat in software, definitely in hardware. Google is a little better, in that it's a lot easier to make Google products play nicely with non-Google products than it is with Apple, but Google still has its silos.


    In technology markets where there are no near-monopolies, standards emerge more quickly (and as better, more flexible standards) because everyone benefits from them, while no one competitor has the market share to go their own way.


    When you do have near-monopolies, they often feel free to just do their own thing inside their own ecosystems, considering it a competitive advantage /not/ to play nicely with other companies' products, so people will have to buy more of their own products in their own ecosystem.


    Apple is current king of ecosystem lock-in. Their products work great with each other, less so with other non-Apple products. To the extent that they do work outside the walled garden, it's often because others have adapted to Apple.


    Once simple example is Apple's connectors. Pretty much everyone else in the WORLD is using the various flavors of USB connectors -- but oh no, not Apple, gotta buy that $30 "lightning" cable instead of the $3 USB cable!


    While a small example, this kind of practice is clearly not good for consumers.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:40 AM Reply Like
  • D:


    Good points. However, maybe, "walled gardens" destroy themselves, as innovation takes place outside and people leave the garden. That's what happened to Apple in PC's, and it may be occurring again with phones, as we speak.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:50 AM Reply Like
  • This is the best reason not to break up tech companies, removing that integration is tantamount to creating boondoggle work for employees at other companies. Why would anyone be dumb enough, government included, to break this up? Also, it would most likely drive up the prices of these products due to the need to maintain this integration between the broken up companies. That would truly NOT benefit the consumer.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:01 PM Reply Like
  • > removing that integration is tantamount to creating boondoggle
    > work for employees at other companies.


    Not really.


    Products integrate via interfaces. Developers have to develop to some interface spec regardless, whether they are proprietary or open.


    If a product is developed to an open interface, it can work with anyone else who develops to that interface (and anyone can, which therefore adds value). If it is developed to work with a proprietary interface, it can only work with other products that have access to that proprietary interface.


    So the cost is the same to build, but the strategy is different (lock-in versus open).


    Yes, there might be a one-time cost for a proprietary company like Apple to switch to more open standards, but it is not recurring.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • Lol, that is potentially a HUGE 1 time cost. Can you imagine all the code which would need to fit into an open standard? I'll bet it would be staggering for a company such as Google or Apple to consider.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • D, interesting point: here is a counter-argument that came to mind. Not married to it, but an interesting thought. If we assume as seems to be the case that the patent system provides relatively flimsy protection for innovators, then one of the only ways the innovator is left with to protect her tech is to make some aspects proprietary. If you cannot prevent copycats you can at least design your devices such that they don't play nicely with the copy cats. Could it be that a revamped patent system would lessen the need for proprietary tech?


    Again, I'm far from certain, but an interesting line of thought.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:59 PM Reply Like
  • Applocrat,


    You and I are probably on opposite ends of the patent reform spectrum -- I think current patent law and practices protect far too much, not too little. :-)
    30 Jun 2013, 01:23 PM Reply Like
  • @D_Virginia


    The idea that Apple has a "near monopoly" on anything is ludicrous.
    They hold less than ten percent of the traditional PC market, and their global mobile device market share is dwarfed by Android. Where exactly is this "monopoly"?


    Sure, their walled garden is prohibitive, but consumers are CHOOSING to enter the garden. It's the synergy between their products that makes them so attractive. They've found the nexus of hardware design, software design, and customer service, become one of the most valuable companies in the world despite not being the leader in any market they participate in, and our response is to call them a monopoly and break them up? Please. The only things Apple has a monopoly on is Apple products and consumer mindshare.


    But to compare Apple and Google to Standard Oil? Oy. Beyond being two of the biggest tech companies, they're also two of the biggest R&D companies. They aren't just producing, they're innovating. Break those two up, and who steps in to fill that space? A foreign company like Samsung whom our government would have little to no influence over?
    30 Jun 2013, 02:43 PM Reply Like
  • Open interfaces may benefit users, but they don't benefit consumers or shareholders. You brought up the Lightning cable in your earlier post, so let's use that as our example. Apple is more protective of its user experience than other companies, and to that end, they created the "Made for iOS" standard that third-party manufacturers must abide by in order to market sanctioned accessories. I don't agree with the added cost that participating in this program requires, but it is what it is. If Apple were to use an industry standard interface like MicroUSB, they'd lose the ability to control the quality of accessories for their products...hence, the 30-pin connector.


    The Lightning cable was borne out of their desire to make the iPhone thinner, and the internal components of the 30-pin was getting in the way of that. The higher cost of the cable ($30 for a cable to connect your phone/tablet is pretty tough to swallow) is attributed to the processors that each cable contain within the connectors that might serve as some sort of authentication as some have speculated, but definitely facilitate the ability to connect the cable in either orientation.


    EDIT (I cut off my entire last paragraph): You wouldn't have a phone as thin with the build quality of the iPhone 5 in the absence of the Lightning connector, and the Lightning cable would never come to be in a world of only open standards.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • > You wouldn't have a phone as thin with the build quality of the
    > iPhone 5 in the absence of the Lightning connector


    This sounded off to me, so I just /had/ to look it up.


    Apple iPhone 5 w/ lightning port: 7.6mm thin
    Motorola Droid Razr w/ micro USB port: 7.1mm thin


    I personally see nothing about a Micro USB port that prohibits thinness. :-)
    1 Jul 2013, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • Fair enough, but my comment about the thinness was addressing the 30-pin connector since Apple is not going to put a standard connector in their phone. It wouldn't allow them to QC the accessories for the iDevices.
    1 Jul 2013, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • Creeper,


    I do believe you will defend Apple and their proprietary cord with your last dying breath. D_V just researched it and the iPhone is thicker than the Droid. QC their 'accessories'? What?


    As a side thought, why can I never find the specific USB cord that I need, but seem to find all of the others in great abundance? Same with transformers - they 'know' when you're looking for them...
    1 Jul 2013, 08:41 PM Reply Like
  • Dear Dr. Richard Sennett:


    Analyze why BT should be broken up first.


    30 Jun 2013, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • I could see the arguement for Google being close to a monopoly based on market share, but thats because people choose to use google vs yahoo or bing. It'd be very hard to prove a company a monopoly when they are basically in a service industry.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • Microsoft's embrace, extend, and extinguish corporate DNA in action. When Microsoft spends $2,000,000,000.00 per year on PR just for W8 and Surface (plus more dollars on other PR ops), this is what you get. Microsoft is buying votes and support in US and EU to extinguish all successful competitors like Google and Apple.


    The referenced Sennett article ignores the only legal case that is relevant: Microsoft's breakup that should have split Microsoft into two companies, an OS company plus an Apps company. That never happened. So, today's FUD is directed at Microsoft's successful competitors. Is Microsoft a twice convicted abusive monopoly? Yep! Has Microsoft changed for the better? Nope!
    30 Jun 2013, 11:19 AM Reply Like
  • OS: Linux, iOS, Android


    Apps: Google Docs, Open Office


    Many of the competing products are free. No monopoly there.


    Because Samsung sells phones, should they be banned from also selling TV's?
    30 Jun 2013, 01:09 PM Reply Like
  • How about breaking up the TBTF banks first? They produce nothing for society, cause a great deal of harm. Google is a jay walker compared to the economic mass murderers like Goldman Sachs.
    30 Jun 2013, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • Banks and governments have become one and the same. Don't count on a breakup.
    30 Jun 2013, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • "No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."


    -Animal Farm, George Orwell
    30 Jun 2013, 02:02 PM Reply Like
  • What would work is to eliminate any kind of governmental intervention that makes monopolies thrive. It isn't that Google, Apple or Microsoft are too big, it is that government intervention has made it so the little guy cannot compete with them.


    "Corporate contributions and lobbyists have created an environment that does not allow for true open/free market economics thrive. Instead it allows only for the "chosen few" to gain massive market share.


    Eliminate all governmental incentives and breaks and watch the startup thrive!
    30 Jun 2013, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • I read the article and quite enjoyed it, but was puzzled at the complete lack of "progression" (sorry) towards any kind of conclusion.


    But if we're going to argue the relative merits of socialism and capitalism, I would say capitalism inherently accepts the existence of competition and does not in principle deny the need for fairness in society. Socialism - given half a chance - builds its own elite social structure, monopolises society and destroys all opposition, by force if necessary.


    Which is rather changing the subject of Sennett's post..
    30 Jun 2013, 01:43 PM Reply Like
  • One thing is clear, Apple is so strong and trying to grow in so many areas, and thus its economic potential and discounted cash flow so high that it makes more sense to be worried that she will become too big, than to think that it has lost its mojo.


    And while it may be too early to consider a break up, in the middle term it is inevitable. Still, it should be indifferent to shareholders who will now own shares in 3 or 4 companies that add up to the 1 they had before.


    Just as we now have JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and so forth, in the middle to long term we will have:


    1.- Apple iTunes (Retail): Music, Apps, Movies, etc. Main Competitor: Amazon.
    2.- Apple Software: Siri, Maps, iWorks, iCloud, and other. MC: Google.
    3.- Apple Electronics: iPhone, iPads, iWallet, iTV, Macs. MC: Samsung.
    4.- Apple Finance: iWallet, Passbook. MC: JPMorgan, Citigroup.
    5.- Apple Search: much like Bing and Google. MC: Google, Microsoft.


    Each one will be among the largest companies in the world, and the sum of their value would be way above $700 at today's value.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • Google is possibly one of the most destructive over dominant players on the net. While collecting information on you, they are applying 50+ attributes to you according to your device or IP and feeding you only search results that fit their parameters
    Last October, they implemented the right to feed you search results based solely upon thier advertiser results, having no longer any attatchment whatsoever to your search query.
    While we type they are implementing "social comtrols" over sites that have have too many mentions of words they do not approve of and refuse to pay adsense accounts until the website owners come into "compliance" - I know of at least five websites this has happened to in the last month.
    The policies have become so rediculous, that even mentioning adsense on site with adsense accounts is enough for google to no pay the site , but only at the end of the month do they find they are not in compliance when they see the adsense account is empty, "with a notice".
    Next issue, do you believe that "" on your mobile device is the same as the oneon your desktop? Because its not. It is a completely different search engine altogether and at the same time they are collecting ever single mobile device Unique identification, to feed you specific adds.
    If you use google you are living in a bubble.


    Should they be broken up? absolutely, does the consumer need to be better informed? Absolutely, would it benefit many other advertisers and make adds cheaper? Absolutely. Would it stop the possible onslaught of every manifestation of this 30year bull market of police enforcement/prison industries gone wild, maybe not, that will fall in on itself sooner or later.


    Every contrarian arguement here is capitalism, there is a problem with this capitalist cycle on one level, uninformed consumers. Google is allowed to set a precedent that others will follow.


    And when explained exactly what they are doing to the net is manefesting an authoritarian state right under our noses.


    Hows that capitalism working for you?
    30 Jun 2013, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • I've _never_ seen a more arrogant company...but since this is at heart a stock/investing web site...and since I'm up 600 points on my GOOG stock, I can't complain :>)
    30 Jun 2013, 02:31 PM Reply Like
  • The investor has to be very clear if he want to gain from Share speculation or the growth of the company, because they are two big different things!.
    30 Jun 2013, 02:41 PM Reply Like
  • An economist telling Google how to manage itself...priceless.
    30 Jun 2013, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • Google and many online and mobile service provider (like Facebook, Yahoo, or Verizon) have a large wealth of personal information that are subject to corporate or government misuse. While I am not sure if you really need break the companies up, it does require clear and transparent regulation to prevent the data to be misused.
    30 Jun 2013, 05:02 PM Reply Like
  • In the future, if one or two US companies dominate the world, the world may demand that they break up, but would the US approve?
    30 Jun 2013, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • US may not even have a say on that issue ;-). Strictly speaking, you should call them US-based MULTINATIONAL companies. Modern capitalism transcends borders.
    30 Jun 2013, 06:04 PM Reply Like
  • What is this guy's position on Verizon and AT&T's duopoly?


    Since he has not commented on it, as far as I can find, it must mean that if two companies dominate a sector, then it is OK.(?)


    Whatever happened to the Roman Empire, by the way?
    30 Jun 2013, 07:19 PM Reply Like
  • My first thought was should they use the AT&T break up as a model?
    30 Jun 2013, 08:59 PM Reply Like
  • A breakup may not be necessary, it may break all by itself.


    "Don't be Evil." - The Google motto and the Spirit of the Internet


    Google is more fragile than most people think, and if they don't change, they could break themselves.
    Google is a search engine, and the dominate search engine today.
    As a network engineer for over 20 years, I've seen the Internet searches going all the way back to text based Gopher, before HTTP or any type of browsers even existed. I still remember when a system admin buddy of mine showed me Google, "check this out", he said. Instead of typing in, I started typing in, it took seconds to do. Now I type in only six characters, or use their tool bar. The switch from Yahoo to Google was painless and easy.


    Gopher, Lycos, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Google, Bing, etc, etc. All are pretty good at what they do, but all are very easy to switch from one to another. They (Google) could be very vulnerable because of this reason. For instance, every new PC with a version of MS Windows runs Bing on it by default. How many people change this? Perhaps only the tech savvy, do you think your mother changes this?. How easy is it to change a search engine?...VERY EASY, and if you think its not easy, you probably have never changed the default search engine.


    Do this once, type in the site you want to go to directly, and then access that same site via Google, notice any difference? Ads Load times, etc.


    What happens when you do change the search engine? Do you loose your music library, bookmarks, documents? Do you have to re-configure or change your major applications so it now works with the new search engine? No, you don't. Which makes Google, and any search engine, very vulnerable to change.


    Over the last few years I've even started to question the integrity of my search results with Google. What do advertisers get when they pay money to Google? Well for sure they may get the little side bar under sponsored links, but what else to they get? The truth is, no one but Google really knows what happens behind the scenes when you pay them, and perhaps the companies paying them. Another fact is the more you pay them, the more your site shows up. So logic tells me something more is happening behind the curtain.


    Since the recent NSA leak, search engines like Duck Duck Go, which is the one I've started to use more and more, despite the corny name, have climbed more that 70%.


    Unless you use HTTPS, every character you type in a Google search is sent to them. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER, not after you hit enter, but EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER YOU TYPE. Of course Google doesn't keep this information (insert sarcasm).
    Read this short link on Duck Duck Go. If it doesn't concern you, maybe it should, it did me.


    I appreciate the free service and think Google does a wonderful job. Their motto has always been in the true spirit of the Internet "Don't be evil", but lately I feel they have lost their way, and their core principles.


    I for one do not want to be tracked, or have my searches archived on some server, to be recalled later by who knows who.


    ~The Chaplin


    1 Jul 2013, 12:32 AM Reply Like
  • I have lots of choices other than Google or AAPL. Therefore, they are NOT monopolies. That's pretty simple. In the late 90's, they were minor players and have only become huge because of great products and voluntary adoption by droves of free people with other options.


    However, lotteries, health care and a host of other things are monopolies (or are becoming monopolies). These monopolies are backed by force. Where is the outrage against that ?
    1 Jul 2013, 05:00 AM Reply Like
  • Google is not a monopoly, any by definition I don't think it can be.
    One definition of monopoly is
    "The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.".


    With AT&T and other carriers, they needed to be broken up because the consumer had few if any alternatives. The 'land line' or what we network engineers call the 'last mile' is very hard to change, and the choices for it are few, if any. Say AT&T owns this link or last mile, and you want another carrier. You need some company to lay a new physical link, which means digging a trench to bury the line to your house, a new HO "home Office" and a carrier that offers service in that area. Unless you live in a large city, this simply is not very likely. 
    Years ago AT&T was the dominate carrier, and most of the time, the only choice you had. Thus it needed to be broken up. It's Ironic now how many of the carriers have merged or bought each other out, and now we are back down to just a few. We broke up the major carriers, and now decades later, they are all becoming one again.


    Again, the definition of monopoly is
    "The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.".


    Google does not have this. There are many choices (see my previous post above), and sure some are better then others, but using the alternatives is as easy has typing or configuring your browsers. Search engines have come and gone, and will continue to come and go. Ask yourself, what did you use before Google? Yahoo? Lycos? Gopher? Google did not invent the search engine, they perfected it.


    Internet users, shoppers, etc are a fickle bunch, and customer loyalty is virtually non existent on the Internet. If your shopping for an item, and see it on a different site on sale significantly cheaper, or free shipping, etc... I bet you will use the new site. Its not like going to your favorite brick and motor store, where you may know the owner, employees, or the location is convenient or close to your house. On the Internet we just type a new URL, and none of the above matter.


    -On a side note, whomever owns that last mile and eventually gets fiber to your home, will deliver almost all services to you such as TV, Internet, and Voice. If one company starts to own all the last miles, they will be the monopoly to fear, or to invest in!
    I'm long on Corning $GLW for this very reason. Until I put a fiber optic network in that doesn't use Corning, or see their fiber cables in data center after data center, I'm going with it. As you read this, your probably using a Corning product right now.
    Copper can only go so far in terms of length, and has limits on the amount of data you can put over it. The same applies to all wireless networks. Fiber is virtually unlimited in terms of data, and length.
    1 Jul 2013, 09:34 AM Reply Like
  • Imagine how useless the Internet would be without search? Imagine how useless search would be if there were 500 search engines to learn and use just to research a facts? Imagine how useless the Internet would be if search was not free? If search could not tie together other services like Google maps, Street view, or links to Youtube.


    Google was not the first search engine. It is the first with the best search. Google changed how the Internet is used. Why do we want to punish innovation? Governments need to keep their hands off the Internet. They need to keep their hands off of Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Exxon. They didn't build it. They don't need to take it over and redistribute it. It is the government that should be broken up and redistributed! When the government builds it you get Obamacare and the IRS! The government should focus on building PHYSICAL border fences and stop building ECONOMIC fences that stop GDP growth!


    They USA Military built ARPNET and the rest was history when the private sector through capitalism worked its magic.
    4 Jul 2013, 01:34 PM Reply Like
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