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06.18.10

A Story of Monopoly: Microsoft Accuses Google Again, This Time Directly

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Google, Microsoft at 1:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

Summary: Microsoft appears to have forgotten its status as a convicted monopoly abuser as it proceeds to accusing Google of returning search results; Apple too is starting to adopt monopolistic tactics

THE hypocrites from Microsoft accuse Google of monopoly. What makes it different from the usual accusations is that Microsoft is doing this directly, thus leaving itself exposed to accusations of hypocrisy. Typically, Microsoft is pushing for Google antitrust through other companies and sometimes lobbying against Google using AstroTurfers too (e.g. LawMedia Group and potentially “Consumer Watchdog” [1, 2, 3, 4] too).

Here is what The Hill says:

Microsoft may be the latest company to raise concerns about a search engine (read: Google) acting as an Internet gatekeeper, according to comments published last week on the Seattle website PubliCola.

As Mike Masnick puts it:

Microsoft should know better than to complain about Google’s actions and suggest they’re in some way anti-competitive. Remember that, even if the actual penalties (penalties? what penalties?) made the ruling meaningless, Microsoft was a convicted monopolist. Having big competitors point fingers at each other screaming about “anti-competitive” behavior is just silly.

Currently there are FTC and ITC investigations into Apple’s practices [1, 2, 3, 4] and this one new article asks, “Is the new Apple ruthless at its core?”

Apple has also been embarrassed lately by accusations of worker exploitation after a spate of suicides at factories operated by Foxconn, its main Chinese manufacturer. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs responded, characteristically, by claiming that his company is exceptionally rigorous when it comes to overseeing its suppliers. Yet worker activists say Apple bears some of the blame for Foxconn’s subsistence-pay wages and long work shifts because it persuaded Foxconn to build devices for such a low price.

Although federal antitrust officials are reportedly looking into Apple’s effort to bar rival advertising networks, it’s hard to see how the company’s tactics violate the law. Simply put, the iPhone doesn’t dominate the smartphone market. The more important question is how consumers will react to the emerging picture of Apple. They may shrug off all these developments because they don’t change how Apple’s products perform. Or they may decide that the company revered for thinking different has become just another corporate bully.

Apple’s broken-by-design products are clearly blocking competition. Since it is no violation of the law to sell proprietary software, one ought to look at how Apple exploits the secrecy of its code to abuse a monopoly.

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