A blog about computers, open source, software and other perceptions gained over the years as a sysadmin.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The complaint against Google is wrong but antitrust regulation is good.

I want to make clear that i have nothing at all against the European Commision doing an investigation on Google, what im against is the way it all happens and who initiates it. Google and the other big corps must be kept in check keeping the playing field level but it should be the EU that initiates the investigations, not a companies biggest competitor of all times.

In a market economy its important that we have the same rules for all the companies. By tailoring these rules we can make the corporations compete in a way that benefits society, consumers and corporations at the same time. The rules should punish competition by dirty tricks and backhand deals that dont in any way improve price, quality or service. For example, it is not acceptable to make a deal that takes away choice from consumers artificially keeping a competitor out of the question.

Without rules the market will premiere the tactics that gives the most money. Sadly the best way to get high returns involves having no competitors or teaming up against newcomers. As such, antitrust regulations are the most important bit of a free market.

Problem is, antitrust regulation is slow, easy to manipulate and often very political. There are numerous questions about a bunch of questions i would like to be answered long before the EU even think about regulating Google. The biggest one is how suddenly over night the choice of a Linux powered Asus eeePC disappeared, despite very good sales. This happened to coincide with Asus and Microsoft teaming up which is very strange. If Microsoft sweetened the deal in return for Asus stop selling computers with Linux its a serious offense that should be looked into right away.

The same goes for Microsoft running around telling people to license Linux related patents without specifying WHAT patents we are talking about so that Linux can avoid those or challange them. Talk about racketeering and coercing in its ugliest form. Its like saying, -"pretty car manufacturing you got there, wanna take my i-wont-sue-your-customers-to-pieces-insurance?"

I think all Microsofts OEM deals should be controlled and checked out, especially the marketing deals. If they in any way punish an OEM for also selling Linux or any other OS it should be severely punished.

My point is, yes Google needs to know they are under constant checking but there are much bigger fish to fry long before that.

My tinfoil hat suspicion is that much of this is Microsoft wanting to have something to point at in their quest to purport Google as the new Microsoft. Up until now Microsoft have found pretty much nothing as ammo against Google, which in itself is pretty calming. If they and their PR corps cant find dirt, Google is probably behaving pretty well for now.

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