There are 2 recent interesting posts on Google becoming too big.
Anil Dash had this post about “Google’s Microsoft Moment” on July 9, 2009.
It’s all about the idea that Google’s self-proclaimed identity of “Don’ be evil” does not match some realities of monopoly.
Also, some of its behaviors start smelling Microsoft’s way of doing things in the old days.
Google’s recent development work on applications for mobile devices has often been delivered exclusively as applications for their own Android platform instead of as iPhone applications, despite the fact that iPhones are roughly forty times more popular in the marketplace. iPhones are also much more popular outside of the United States than Android, further limiting the actual audience served by these applications. Now, it’s obviously good company policy to make sure to support Google’s own platforms, and Google does an admirable job of using generic open web technologies where possible to avoid having to choose between platforms at all. But choosing to leave the majority of users in a given market unaddressed because they are on a platform that is not part of your corporate goals is short-sighted and leaves a lingering sense of mistrust
Another great and quite in-depth article is in Wired about Obama’s Top Antitrust Cop Christine A. Varney.
The intro of that posting says its all: "I think you are going to see a repeat of Microsoft." Red highlighting by myself.
Christine Varney’s blunt assessment sent a buzz through the audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Varney, a partner at Hogan & Hartson and one of the country’s foremost experts in online law, was speaking at the ninth annual conference of the American Antitrust Institute, a gathering of top monopoly attorneys and economists. Most of the day was filled with dry presentations like "Verticality Regains Relevance" and "The Future of Private Enforcement." But Varney, tall and professorial, did not hide her message behind legalese or euphemism. The technology industry, she said, was coming under the sway of a dominant behemoth, one that had the potential to stifle innovation and squash its competitors. The last time the government saw a threat like this—Microsoft in the 1990s—it launched an aggressive antitrust case. But by the time of this conference, mid-June 2008, a new offender had emerged. "For me, Microsoft is so last century," Varney said. "They are not the problem. I think we are going to continually see a problem, potentially, with Google."
And also interesting parallel at the end of the article:
Google is playing nice so far. Its public policy blog soothingly acknowledges regulators’ concerns. "As Google has grown," it reads, "the company has naturally faced more scrutiny about our business principles and practices. We believe that Google promotes competition and openness online, but we haven’t always done a good job telling our story." Schmidt is a regular presence in Washington; he served as a member of Obama’s transition team and now sits on his technology advisory council. And publicly, Schmidt welcomes the oversight. "We understand the role here," he says. "We are not judge and jury."
But that doesn’t mean Google will neuter itself to please the government. Just like Gates before him, Schmidt says he has no plans to change his company’s trajectory in the face of regulatory challenges. Microsoft’s belligerence was a function of its will to power, a refusal to believe that the government had the authority or intelligence to take it down. Google still thinks it can get regulators to see it as it sees itself: not as a mere company but as a force for good.
And what about Mozilla’s Firefox ? Now that Google has launched it Chrome Browser and had announced it’s own Chrome OS, doesn’t all this look so similar to Microsoft killing Netscape ?
One of the big differences is that Microsoft was not funding Netscape, whereas a big part of Mozilla’s revenues seem to come from Google. The contract seems to run till 2011, but in essence they exist by the grace of Google.
Mozilla and Google have long had an agreement that makes Google the standard home page when people start Firefox, and sends them to Google when they type something into the search box at the top of the browser.
Google pays Mozilla hefty fees in return.
The deal accounted for 88 percent of Mozilla’s $75 million in revenue in 2007, according to its most recent tax filings, and it was recently renewed through 2011. (The gusher of income from Google prompted the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation to set up a taxpaying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, in 2005.)
Have this great article in the New York Times following a press update as Mozilla moved offices away from the shadow of the Google campus.
Kevin Kelleher already wrote in 2004 in Wired’s Googlemania:
"Microsoft looks at Google and sees its own past, full of promise. Google looks at Microsoft and sees the future—a swaggering company that dominates the tech landscape" (bingo!).”
“Bingo” ? Could he foresee Microsoft’s rebranding of their search engine into Bing ?