Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pot - Kettle - Black

Google boss Eric Schmidt's comments today that 'no company should be allowed to get big enough to bring down an economy' may yet come back to haunt him. It shows a reckless disregard for the vacuum cleaner effect Google has had on the media industry.

The company's monopolies (the technical definition of which is more than 25% of market share) include search advertising (Google Adsense/Adwords), display advertising (Doubleclick), online mapping (Google Maps/Streetview), video search (YouTube) and Internet TV (YouTube).

The revenue has come from somewhere. $20billion has left areas like local newspaper and traditional television advertising and has gone to Google. The result will be cuts in programming budgets and the closing of many traditional media.

Of course, it could be argued that this is a good thing, the survival of the fittest. But the trouble with monopolies is that they become about the survival of the fattest.

Google still sees itself as a force for good, but the mere fact that this hugely profitable company felt the need to go public shows that it is part of the cause of the malaise currently afflicting the world. In economics 101 I was taught that every company's instinct is to be a monopoly and Google is no exception.

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