Bonum Certa Men Certa

Judge in Google Case Doesn’t Know if Firefox is a Browser or Search Engine

Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer.

Meme: Fry Firefox

No Anti-Trust Case in the United States Has Ended Well for Consumers. Judge in Google Case Doesn’t Know if Firefox is a Browser or Search Engine.

The United States Government does not have a good track record for responding to anti-trust problems in time, or resolving the cases to any meaningful effect when it finally does respond at all.

In the case of Standard Oil or AT&T, the monopolies pretty much just re-assembled themselves again. In the AT&T case, the government split them into over 50 different phone companies, called “Baby Bells”, which would each service its own US State or territory, ~40 years in and we’re back to only 3 real phone companies in the entire country.

AT&T is one of them and simply bought the fragments of itself except Verizon, which bought other fragments of AT&T.

The Crooked Trump Administration allowed T-Mobile to buy Sprint and raise our phone bills, and ignored the problem of having less choice in the marketplace, after T-Mobile rented $250,000 of empty hotel rooms at Trump’s failing D.C. hotel.

In the case of Standard Oil in the early 20th Century, the competing oil companies got back together and began operating as a cartel instead of a monopoly, so the effects on the market are essentially almost as if Standard Oil were still here.

(They “compete” only in the sense that there are minor deviations in their detergency formulations for gasoline and oil. General Motors dexos 1 gen3 has made a uniform standard for motor oil which is actually quite good. Anyone who licenses has to meet the same benchmarks but is free to arrive at the results almost anyway it sees fit, although the base oils and detergents are so minimally different that as long as they meet the standard, you’re basically buying the same stuff.)

But then they got to Microsoft. They were going to punish the crap out of them and split them into as many as seven different software companies, but in the end they got tapped on the wrist so lightly that the damage to the competition in the Web browser, OS, and office suite markets was done and Microsoft got a bargain, and consumers still didn’t have many real options.

The Google case threatens computer users because while Chrome OS is not an ideal choice of OS, it is FAR better than Windows for most users (especially with Linux and Android program compatibility).

From the point-of-view that the thing maintains itself and doesn’t get viruses, or stuffed up with bad updates nearly every month, or perform hideously on low end laptops like Windows does, Chrome OS is an outstanding operating system.

The downside to this anti-trust case against Google, for consumers, is that no matter what happens, Microsoft, a far bigger monster, threatens to win, in markets where it has not done well because consumers have a choice and almost nobody chose Microsoft.

Microsoft Bing is almost inconsequential because the quality has never been good.

Without fundamentally fixing anything, Microsoft has attempted to get users by rebranding it several times, stealing Google’s index by spying on Microsoft browser users and what Google links they clicked on, and using a “branding condom” called DuckDuckGo, which is really just a skin for Bing.

(Hosted on Microsoft Azure, almost all results come from Bing, and DuckDuckGo’s anti-tracking products exempt Microsoft’s ad network.)

Microsoft has been vexed by Google for over a decade now. Losing millions of Windows users to Chrome OS and Android, and they want it to stop.

That’s quite possibly where the impetus for the Google anti-trust case really came from, and in irony, consumers really do have a choice and most of them just don’t bother to switch from Google, which is easy to do.

In the case of Bing, anyone could switch to it by changing one setting. It’s probably already in their browser, so they don’t even have to add it. The fact that nobody does speaks for itself.

I mean, it’s not like trying to get rid of Windows where there is malicious firmware and “Security Theater Boot” in your way and you have to format a drive and start over with a new OS. Nope. Flip a switch, use Bing (you shouldn’t). And nobody does.

The fact that we end up with old judges who are so tech illiterate that they do not even understand as much about computers as my 66 year old mother with an iPhone, who has to ask teenagers at a store about it, who don’t want to help her because she’s not in there buying the latest model, says that this case might not end well either.

The government botching anti-trust was the reason why we ended up with crappy Windows operating systems instead of powerful UNIX systems for many years in the first place. AT&T had UNIX, they were just forbidden from selling it directly, so we ended up with toys like DOS and Windows, which someone at Microsoft added “a bad lip reading of some of the things we saw in UNIX” to, but were not great operating systems.

The only part of Google’s business that should be at issue here are how they’ve abused users of Chrome, but I doubt that will get much trial time.

Chrome used to have better extensions.

When they had to kill Firefox, they implemented a decent extensions system.

Now that they HAVE killed Firefox, they make (especially privacy extensions) the system weaker, and add DRM and tracking to the core of the browser program.

I also doubt we’ll hear about the increasing number of Web sites that aren’t even made with Web technologies anymore, but are rather Chrome applications that mainly exist to pop up a QR code for your phone, like New New Reddit.

These are the important issues that the court needs to stop Google from continuing with, but I think we’ll mostly just hear about Search, which is very boring and has lots of choice already.

I use Searx Belgium. Privacy Browser on Android defaults to Mojeek.

It’s not Google’s fault if people don’t want to educate themselves in a market full of options.

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