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Blekko's not afraid of Google, why is Washington?

Eric Schmidt will appear before a senate committee tomorrow to defend Google against claims that it has abused its postion in the marketplace.

Apparently the prize if you win really big: you get to pitch your startup to congress.

The former tech darling has begun to assume the same status of “startup grown too big for its britches” that was once hung around the neck of its nemesis Microsoft.

But we don’t need federal intervention to level the playing field with Google. Innovation and competition are far more powerful instruments to battle companies that have grown powerful and influential. Which has been more detrimental to Microsoft's business? The lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice in the 90s, or the innovative products Apple has brought to the marketplace?

The success of Google should be applauded on Capitol Hill, not derided.

Let’s let entrepreneurs, technology and good old-fashioned innovation deal with Google. Consumers will always be the winners in that scenario.

Comments (11)

Dagny Maidman:

Right on! Why do words of sanity never come from politicians?

plzy:

"Innovation and competition are far more powerful instruments to battle companies that have grown powerful and influential"... But this is exactly what this investigation is doing to confirm. Why is this a bad thing? With Goog's recent foray into everything and anything, I think it's a timely intervention, no?... If they're doing nothing wrong, nothing will come of it (either that or their huge spending on lobbying would have paid off).

Great commentary. I like the thought that companies should have a market share proportionate to their technology, innovation and product. Isn't the old saying "to be the best, you've got to beat the best"?

no you get the prize of appearing before the senator Kinseys of the world by not fraking understanding politics.

And MS has been effected far more by the Judgement than some shiny toys - trust me I spent 15 years inside the wire at a heavily regulated telco.

Eric should have been fired for his sub Ratner Goofs 4/5 years ago.

Tom:

Dagny,

You seem to be forgetting that politicians are involved. Big money is asking them to "Look into IT". That means that they need to appear to "Do Something". Normally when politicians "Do Something" it costs taxpayers lots of money and helps the people giving them money. Google doesn't need to actually be doing anything wrong. How many millions of dollars of taxpayer money was spent investigating Microsoft to come to the conclusion that they were "being mean" and bundling the browser with the operating system. I mean really, if they kept going down that path and the tools were not really the best, then competition would have taken over and people would have started switching to Apple or Linux. I switched to using Google when the "other" search engine I was using wasn't as good anymore. When Google stops being the best search engine or becomes too intrusive I will switch again. But please, keep the politicians out of it. They are already costing us too much.

Tom

Dan Stephans:

Read excerpt on TechDirt and thought I'd drop in to say that your viewpoint is spot on. It's exciting to see someone willing to roll up their sleeves and compete rather than legislate or litigate success.

Kudos.

Those guys from Washington should really worry about much important things they are paid for, like getting more job to Americans little less on what Google is doing, although it's good to know someone it's watching on big G's moves.

Mostly agree, Rich, but I'm curious for your take on their behavior with Yelp. Specifically

http://www.slashgear.com/google-argues-antitrust-while-yelp-spills-on-search-skip-ultimatum-21181460/

where Google was using Yelp reviews as the primary content to bootstrap Google Places (a competing product for Yelp) even after a licensing deal ended and then threatening to remove Yelp from Google Search when Yelp complained about it.

Not sure that rises to the level of antitrust, but seems like a pretty questionable action on Google's part, using threat of removal from Google Search to get what they want after a licensing deal falls through. Don't you think?

Rob:

Way to go on getting a plug in for your search engine :).

Tell us Skrenta:

How much market share have you taken from Google so far?

What's to stop Google from copying your innovative ideas? By the time a jury is seated, most would be bankrupt.

If Google is doing something illegal now (something that only an investigation can truly tell,) should we wait for them to maybe lose 5% market share a year?

Sorry to say but your arguments do not hold water. If Google is doing illegal and anti-competitive things, many start-ups, small businesses and consumers are being hurt. Time to see the documents, and what's on those algorithm black boxes, was ad money the main motivation behind many updates?

Carson Ward:

Brilliant post, Rich. What do the legislators think they can do? What can they accomplish that isn't going to hurt everyone? Are they going to make it illegal for product results to appear in search engines? Am I going to have to rely on some biased, third-rate affiliate aggregation to compare prices?

Or does Mr. Lee intend to physically force people to stop searching on Google? Nothing is stopping them.

Do legislators just plan to cripple one company, forcing it to remove product results, while the competitors get to show them? If so, it makes a mockery of laws designed to enable "fair" competition.

Maybe Microsoft is the new Netscape. Does that make Blekko the new Google?

IMHO, Google has become so powerful and influential. This what worries most people. I'm using most of the Google's products simply because they answer to my needs. However, I also worry about how they utilize this information at their end.

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