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Wigner's Friend
02-18-2009, 05:55 PM
http://www.techflash.com/microsoft/Obamas_antitrust_pick_Microsoft_so_last_century_bu t_Google_troubling_39762932.html


Bloomberg News has dug up an interesting one: Christine Varney, nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. antitrust chief, last year singled out Google -- not Microsoft -- as especially worthy of government scrutiny.

"For me, Microsoft is so last century," Varney said at an American Antitrust Institute conference. "They are not the problem."

Wow. Now there's a zinger. The people in Microsoft's legal department are probably loving it. The Windows team? Um, not so much. In any event, that snippet from Bloomberg merely whets the appetite and makes a nerd like me want to read everything Varney said on the subject. So I found the audio file on the AAI site and transcribed the whole passage. Enjoy.

"If any of my colleagues or friends from Google, or who represent Google, are here, I invite you to jump up and scream and yell at me. For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem. I think we’re going to continually to see a problem, potentially, with Google, who I think so far has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising lawfully. I do not think they have done anything other than be a spectacular, innovative company. I’m deeply troubled by their acquisition of DoubleClick, and I’m deeply troubled by their deal with Yahoo. I submit to you that this administration, although they may open a investigation or a review of the Google-Yahoo deal, will do nothing. I think this is a classic area to explore, how do you apply Section 2 in a highly innovative, highly networked, not terribly competitive environment."

As it happens, Varney was wrong in predicting that the Bush administration would let the Google-Yahoo deal go unopposed. Google walked away from the agreement after it became clear that the Justice Department was poised to fight it in court.

But her comments make it pretty clear which company she believes deserves the closer scrutiny nowadays.

Bloomberg quotes a White House spokesman saying that Obama nominated Varney “to vigorously enforce the law” and “is confident that she can do so in a fact-specific and evenhanded way with every matter she will face.”

I like Varney, her "no surprises, no micromanaging" philosophy helped the Clinton administration be as successful as they were. Even though I don't agree with everything she said, pressing for more competition bodes well for consumers in my opinion.

Dreaded Anomaly
02-18-2009, 06:10 PM
I'm generally a fan of Google products, but I'm glad to see Varney nominated. We need someone who takes anti-trust laws and principles seriously.

Ray G.
02-18-2009, 06:13 PM
Anyone who says this is likely in Microsoft's pocket.

Non-corrupt near-monopoly > corrupt near-monopoly.

Dreaded Anomaly
02-18-2009, 06:16 PM
Anyone who says this is likely in Microsoft's pocket.

Non-corrupt near-monopoly > corrupt near-monopoly.

I think Varney is more concerned with the competent business than the corrupt one.

Ray G.
02-18-2009, 06:21 PM
I think Varney is more concerned with the competent business than the corrupt one.

I have never been of the mind that when a company gets too big, they're doing something wrong.

It's only when the company starts aggressively trying to shut down any competition that I think this should kick in. Success should not trigger anti-trust laws. Google built a better mousetrap, and everyone else needs to catch up.

Dreaded Anomaly
02-18-2009, 06:26 PM
I have never been of the mind that when a company gets too big, they're doing something wrong.

It's only when the company starts aggressively trying to shut down any competition that I think this should kick in. Success should not trigger anti-trust laws. Google built a better mousetrap, and everyone else needs to catch up.

I agree that right now, Google's on top because they keep innovating, and not because of any kind of collusion or aggression.

However, Varney doesn't seem like she's out to take them apart, just to keep an eye on them. Google's motto may be "don't be evil," but things can change. A little vigilance never hurt anyone.

Wigner's Friend
02-18-2009, 06:29 PM
Anyone who says this is likely in Microsoft's pocket.

Varney was the one of the prosecutors in the US vs. Microsoft case working on behalf of Netscape. She's been a lobbyist for eBay, Fox Interactive Media/MySpace, Orbitz Worldwide, Inc., DoubleClick, Ernst & Young, EMI, Intelius, Advertising.com, American Hospital Association, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, Dow Jones & Company, AOL, Synopsys, Compaq Computer, Gateway, Netscape, The Liberty Alliance, and Real Networks; but not Microsoft.

RickLM
02-18-2009, 07:01 PM
The headline threw me. This article isn't really about Microsoft and is instead about the concerns people have about Google.

Wigner's Friend
02-18-2009, 07:04 PM
The headline threw me. This article isn't really about Microsoft and is instead about the concerns people have about Google.

Yeah, I fucked up on that. Sorry.

Ashwin Pande
02-18-2009, 07:17 PM
She's right. Microsoft will never totally die, at least not anytime soon, but they're losing their relevance in every other sphere apart from their OS.

Google pretty much runs the internet now. Every email you get (Gmail), every photo you have (PicasaWeb), every video of yours (YouTube) and your thoughts and opinions (Blogger) is through Google. They have a potential to do a lot of good which they are doing right now but at a turn of a switch they also have the potential to do a lot of harm and should be monitored.

And once their free OS actually does come out, it might even give Windows a run for its money.

WinterRose
02-19-2009, 10:11 AM
And once their free OS actually does come out, it might even give Windows a run for its money.

Not exactly going to be a hard sell there, considering the direction M$ has been going, philosophically. All they have to do is make it user friendly and able to run existing games. And then not charge people for every seperate component of the OS. M$ really has set themselves up to be pushed off the top of the mountain here.