Microsoft Search Request: Is Google a Monopoly?

Includes: GOOG, MSFT
by: Barry Ritholtz

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has filed a complaint about Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) purchase of Double-Click (DCLK) (I have to let that sink in a moment . . . O.K., stop snickering).

There's something deliciously ironic about the largest recently adjudicated monopolist accusing Google of monopoly abuse -- even as Microsoft itself is forced to withdraw its own attempt to hijack desktop search through its own monopoly!

But is Google a monopoly, given its domination of search, 64% market share, and 58% year over year growth of total number of search queries?


• Google neither owns the content nor the delivery mechanism of that content.

• Google has no geographical control anywhere in the world.

• Since nearly all its consumer services are free, Google doesn't have the power to raise prices.

• Google has no ability to exclude competitors or somehow block access to competing services

• Google operates in an environment of healthy competition, with deep pocketed competitors such as Microsoft, Yahoo (YHOO), and (owned by (IACI)).

Google's success is simply a function of it building a better mousetrap. 

The complaining you hear comes from competitors who simply missed the boat. Had Microsoft or Yahoo! understood the revenue potential of serving ads with each search, Google would not be the benevolent monster it is today.

So instead, we get anti-trust whining from the world's biggest "innovator."

Terry Semel got $h*tcanned for frittering away Yahoo's dominant position in search (are portals far behind?).

With Semel gone -- Non-executive Chairman is a polite term for one foot out the door -- inquiring minds want to know: Is Ballmer next?


Is Google a Monopoly?
Lance Ulanoff
PC Mag, 05.09.07,1759,2127299,00.asp

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