Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monopoly Busters

The irony of it all - Sky has done a Microsoft and escaped deeper investigation due to the fact that there are now a few online film rental sites in the UK, according to the UK's ridiculous Competition Commission. What about sport ? Or channel management ? What about Google or Facebook.

The Competition Commission in the UK needs to be totally revamped to suit the 21st century. It seems to live in 1950.

Of course, Microsoft has come to see its monopoly trumper come back and eat it alive in the shape of Apple, a rival they had to have just so that they didn't own 100% of the market. Will Netflix, Lovefilm and the like do the same in the UK ?

None of this seems to affect Google, who have 80-90% of the UK online market, depending on whose stats you believe - a totally amazing achievement. Imagine if a TV station had 80% of TV advertising. I wonder if they'd be so sanguine then. And all of this from a company that then pays practically no sales or corporate tax in the UK, much to the detriment of British companies.

If the Iraq war made a criminal out of Blair, treatment of Google (not NewsCorp) will make Cameron either an idiot or a total criminal - market share may no longer be a legal measure of total market dominance, but tax avoidance, anti-competitive agreements and abuse of market positions are slam dunks. The reason that the UK has never produced a Google is the UK's support for foreign companies like Google. Can you imagine Exxon or GM being given these breaks ?

What isn't reflected in this is the huge damage all of this does to UK media, UK technology and UK startups - the very constituents that Cameron thinks he's courting by enabling Google. On this, as with most things, he is an absolute idiot with very bad judgement, valuing money over wealth.

Why have we left it to the EU to deal with this properly ?