Tags: Cybersecurity | Emerging Threats | Financial Markets | google | competition

Google a Threat to Competition? Ask Its Competitors

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(AFP via Getty Images)

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Thursday, 06 February 2020 09:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

On Jan. 21 of this year, several high-ranking business executives gathered before Congress to discuss the impact of big tech on competition.

In Congress' "Competitors in the Digital Economy" hearing, the CEO of Sonos, Patrick Spence, the co-founder of Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson and the vice president of Tile, Kirsten Daru, all vocalized their experiences dealing with tech behemoths, and did so with the emphasis on Google.

The consensus was resounding, as they all claimed Google has become a systemic threat to competitive enterprise and that its anti-competitive activities must be stopped. 

Several testifying companies, each substantially smaller than the trillion-dollar Alphabet subsidiary, have experienced Google's anti-competitive streak firsthand.

Sonos, for instance, recently filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, arguing that Google violated intellectual property law to gain an advantage in the market.

Allegedly, Google first copied the company's smart speaker design, which was guarded under patent protection. Then, using the copied design, Google produced its own version of the smart speaker, undercutting Sonos' price.

While one could dismiss these allegations as merely anecdotal evidence from a disgruntled competitor, that would be a mistake. Google's behavior, as described by Sonos, is something America has seen before.

In fact, on March 24 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case bearing striking similarities to Sonos' own lawsuit. In the case of Google v. Oracle, Google is again accused of violating IP protections, not unlike authoritarian China, to undercut its competition.

Only this time, rather than copy a patented design, Google replicated copyrighted software.

Having previously failed to negotiate a licensing contract to use Oracle's Java program, Google chose instead to copy large portions of the software's programming code. It then used the code it had lifted to form its own mobile operating system: the incredibly popular Android OS.

Google has attempted to justify its actions by claiming that its use of the code constituted "fair use," a claim the Supreme Court is attempting to resolve. Ultimately, however, Google’s behavior speaks for itself. By replicating, rather than licensing Oracle’s Java program, Google once again undercut its competition, costing Oracle an estimated $8.8 billion in the process.

These seemingly monopolistic tactics have drawn the scrutiny of the Trump administration’s Department of Justice, which has opened an antitrust probe to investigate Google’s actions. Yet Google's anti-competitive activities extend beyond mere abuse of intellectual property, and into the advertising sphere also.

On Feb. 3, Bloomberg reported that Google has begun limiting the access of third-party providers to track ad spending on its platform. The search engine giant already controls the lion’s share of the digital ad market, and now, with its decision to limit its competitors’ access to ad data, Google is looking to consolidate its power even further.

Effectively, the company is forcing its competitors out of the market by funneling all digital advertising through its proprietary tracking tools — the essence of anti-competitive behavior.

As the co-founder of Basecamp, David Hansson, explained, "[Google has] replaced the search engine with an ad engine instead. The organic search term does not matter anymore. The only thing that matters is buying the advertising."

Google has oriented its search engine to prioritize advertising above all else.

By squeezing its competitors out of the advertising market, Google manages to stifle any potential competition and reap the resulting windfall.

Despite the company’s claims to the contrary, Google clearly represents a systemic threat to competitive enterprise. Google has consistently worked to stymie the tech industry’s vibrant marketplace by abusing intellectual property protections and throttling the avenues for competing advertisers.

As Congress’ committee hearing clearly demonstrated, Google’s behavior is dangerously anticompetitive.

If you don’t think so, just ask the company’s would-be competitors. 

Just be sure to ask quickly, while they’re still around to answer the question.

Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer and Editorial Director for Reactionary Times. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax TV and columnist for Newsmax.com since 2016. His writing, which is concentrated on politics, cybersecurity and sports, has also been published by websites including The Hill, The Washington Times, LifeZette, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun and PJ Media and many others. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Several high-ranking business executives gathered before Congress to discuss the impact of Big Tech on competition; they all claimed Google has become a systemic threat to competitive enterprise and that its anti-competitive activities must be stopped. 
google, competition
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2020-01-06
Thursday, 06 February 2020 09:01 AM
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