- Internet & the Web
A monopoly or more specifically, a "coercive monopoly," has never been established in a free market, where traders are free to set their own prices – and compete for business. The only time such a monopoly can exist is by decree, by law, by force of rule – and never by free and unfettered trade. So long as people are allowed to move about, are not confined to a given city or town, are not chained to their jobs, and can buy similar products from anyone offering sale, there can be no monopolies of any serious consequence – without governmental intervention. Monopolies of this nature, need governmental access and said intervention, on their behalf, from the power brokers themselves. These monopolies need special privileges, subsidies, tax reductions, and unique access, as set forth by these agencies.
If such monopolies are forced upon the citizens of any nation, by their rulers, certain characteristics are noted. Namely, all other such businesses are forced out, by law. Google has no such power, even in the E.U., although the intellectually dishonest have made such claims.
Google is not immune
Google is not immune from competition, which is yet another 'requirement' to be an actual coercive monopoly. Google must provide good services and good prices or a Frenchman might use Bing or any number internet search engines. Google better provide awesome cell phone apps or a Brit might buy a Chinese cell phone, with apps that only spy on him and his family. Gmail better not 'go down' or the Spaniard might use Yahoo.
How do you rate Google?
Google cannot control prices
What is more, Google cannot control prices. Sure, if you use Google and shop therein, you might be directed to certain products, but you are still free, even in the E.U., not to buy via Google. Since a true coercive monopoly would necessitate that your purchase must go through them, should you wish to buy that pair of shoes, for example. By definition, Google is not a monopoly. It is quite obvious that Google...is simply a target. The bank robbers at the E.U. need some greenbacks.
Artificially promoting its own shopping comparisons?
Christopher Williams of The Telegraph, in the United Kingdom, authored a piece titled: "Google charged with monopoly abuse", dated April 15, 2015. "EU investigation accuses web giant of damaging competition by artificially promoting its own shopping comparisons" one reads next. One might ask just what is "artificial" about Google "promoting its own shopping comparisons"? Nothing.
If one goes to Store A and compares the prices of toothpaste, one will see, at least in the U.S., a variety of prices – all 'artificially promoted' as it were. Now if one takes a trip to Store B, one will often see the very same products – same brands – but oddly, all at different prices. Again, all 'artificially promoted' as it were. The comparison here would be the same if one shops on Google or Bing. Neither has a monopoly – not even close.
If we are to believe Christopher Williams and his source, it is against E.U. policies to 'artificially promote' products in this fashion. Why? Just because someone might be fooled into thinking that he/she has no choice and must buy the product offered from Google? Huh? I was told that the E.U. had a better education system than the U.S. Surely, the average E.U. patriot would not be fooled? Would he or she?
The E.U. "Shake Down"
Google has already responded to the E.U.'s concerns, according the article in question. Amazon, Ebay and other services were mentioned as alternative shopping 'comparisons', but this rebuttal almost certainly fell on deaf ears.
To the E.U. it's not about competition or leveling the playing field. To the E.U. it's about the "shake down". How much cash will Google be willing to pay for the 'privilege' of doing business in the E.U. We have the same thing in the U.S., but at least our Mafia is more honest about it. They call it a "Protection Racket". So we should really re-word the E.U.'s concerns. Call it what it really is: Pay to Play. A soft Mafioso.
"Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner responsible for enforcing antitrust laws" apparently feels that Google is the largest monopoly is history, according to said article. How this comparison was made is unclear, unless Vestager feels that fair trade is unfair. The article does not articulate further. The feel of it is: Google is an abuser. Why? Just because Margrethe says so.
(Recommendation: Terminate Vestager's employment. Ask her to retire to Greece and join the Golden Dawn Party. They have similar philosophies.)
The E.U. Mafia
There is no difference between the E.U. Mafia and D.O.J. Goons (in the U.S.) when the D.O.J. went after Microsoft. Microsoft gained market share because the majority of humans found the system easy to use. Apple was okay, but not as popular. Now here we go again. Punish the successful for being successful, rather than just buying no-name computers and struggling along with Linux.
(I recommend that all governments be required to use Linux.)
This not to say that Google has played entirely fair – even in the United States. Playing fair, even in a "mixed economy" of the U.S., is difficult, but not impossible.
Google has done things in the U.S., such as accept monies from governmental entities. In other words, it has suckled at the teat of the public treasury. Doing such a thing gives Google unfair advantages in some markets in the U.S. In this respect, Google has still not acquired anything close to coercive-monopolistic powers, which is the drum beat of the failing competitors. The competitors who fund the E.U. commissioners?
The E.U. "IS" a Coercive Monopoly
The E.U., a failing conglomeration of fiat money-makers, is the true coercive monopoly in this story. They are, by contractual law, the only entity allowed to produce the most important tool: money. (Actually it's not money. It's currency.) And the E.U. is failing...bit by bit.
The U.S. Fed is barely ahead, but at least they allow a bit more freedom for their businesses. But even this is not quite true.
Even the U.S. has attempted to soak Google – claiming monopolistic powers. The suit, from the Federal Trade Commission also cited advertising practices. Google buckled and the suit was dropped. Google had no backbone then and it is doubtful, under the E.U. microscope, they will attempt to debate the issue now. Google will pay and Google will play – as Google loses market share to lesser companies in the process. Of course, this is only a prognostication. Perhaps, Google will grow a set. If so, the government will likely shut them down. That's our current world.
Google can't hold YOU Hostage
The point is Google cannot hold you hostage. It can advertise, in a free and fair world, any way it so chooses. It can hide cheap items and offer you high priced ones. It can send you to other websites as it sees fit, bypassing competitors – on purpose.
But you have complete control. You can simply "click off" – go to another site – shop elsewhere. You can use Yahoo or FireFox or even the TOR Browser, if you like. Don't you see that "mouse" in your hand or do you use the finger method. (Double entendre.)
So that is the lesson for today E.U. and D.O.J.: "Click Off!" And don't forget, I use the finger method.
Should the E.U. "Click Off"?
(This is not a paid advertisement of Google. If Google fails, I couldn't care less. They've already consumed the water from the poison well, when they used taxpayer monies – without taxpayer consent. I speak of the ivanpah.nrg.com project here. Google had skin in that game, where taxpayers subsidized the project. Also, Gmail sucks. Just saying. But I still think it sucks less than Microsoft.)