Fandango’s Provocative Question #93 asks:
Do you think that the government (federal and state) should break up Google for having a virtual monopoly in the search engine arena? If so, why? If not, why not?
First, I’m not too knowledgeable about this. But when has that ever stopped anyone 😉
Second, I am a little conflicted about this. So, I will answer it in two parts.
In principal, I believe monopoly is not a good thing for either the consumer or the market. We have seen enough cases where companies when they start, offer tones of freebies, and loyalty perks and great customer service. But once they capture the market, all that great service and low cost goes poof. Meanwhile this monopoly has been gained by killing or absorbing the competition, and in the process snubbing out any new entrants.
I also have a problem with companies that discourage portability or inter app compatibility. That was my primary gripe with Apple.
Google, on the other hand has offered us great service without thrusting their own groups of apps down our throat. Thus far.
In short, while I love Google, I also believe that absolute power corrupts.
However, you cannot wake up one fine day and penalize someone for good business sense. Instead, the government should have issued and enforced guidelines and directives to ALL companies, that protect and encourage entrepreneurs and open source. Don’t allow the big cats to eat up the little ones. That in itself will act as a check on the big firms.
My only problem with Google, is that they, like all other companies, literally stalk us and sell our data to advertisers, and obviously push their preferred links to the top of the stack. Which again is good business strategy. It is the government’s responsibility to set guidelines that restrict such practices for all.
In summary, should the government break Google up – No. Should they set guidelines – Yes.