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Google and IM

http://www.orkut.com is an online community that has something to do with google.

Google with its email service and this online community might also look forward for the instant messaging market? With 1 GB email account, integrated community and instant messenger (and whatever).

Green Pajamas
Saturday, June 05, 2004

...and so on and so forth.

Any reason why we should expect Google not to become another monopoly like Microsoft?

.
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Google wont become a monopoly like Microsoft because switching from Google is a lot easier. Switching from MS is nearly impossible for most people.

Craig
Saturday, June 05, 2004

>Switching from MS is nearly impossible for most people.

As someone who switches and works between several operating systems, it is getting much easier than it used to.  A switch to Mac could even be done  easily by the technically challenged.  Linux could someday...

Bill Rushmore
Saturday, June 05, 2004

>Switching from MS is nearly impossible for most people.

Means for masses.

Green Pajamas
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Craig, how many search engines do you use for that really important and urgent piece of information?

.
Saturday, June 05, 2004

". " - and what's your point?

Are you decrying that fact that no one has figured out how to provide as good of a service as Google? That would be a fair sentiment. But no, it seems that you are complaining that they've become the best and therefore largest in their field and that this is somehow evil.

So, what's your point?

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Who can tell me why dogpile.com hasn't taken off? They've been around just as long as google, and provide meta-search results from google, yahoo and other search engines so by definition are "better" than just google.

Yet our site gets a total of zero search engine referrals each month from them (even though we're #1 on their list for our biggest keywords), and 90% from google?

Rob
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Josh, nothing to do with being evil. Nor anything to do with doing a good job or not. My question and point was, leveraging one's prominence in one field to expand into other related fields will lead to a monopoly. We would all be using Internet Explorer for GMailing and GIMing and maybe even Googling.

That a monopoly is right, wrong, good, bad or ugly is something we'll pick up later. But first, should Google move into the IM space, will it or will it not lead to a monopoly?

.
Saturday, June 05, 2004

"Monopoly"
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Philo's right - you are not using the term monopoly correctly.

JWA
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Monopoly -

  1.  Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service

  2. A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
   
  3. A commodity or service so controlled.

  4. Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled

By expanding into IM, Email, Online Communities, Online Storage and so on by an Internet Search Service, that service will, excellent, honest, technically superb service, no doubt, have " Exclusive control of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service" and will lead to "Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled" by M/s Google Incorporated.

Internet based email, search, IM, storage, news, covers IMO almost the full gamut of "content storage, retrieval and communication" sector of the Internet. Which leaves only _content generation_ to the others.

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

> content generation

Google's way ahead of you. They bought Blogger last year. And the latest Google Groups in Beta allows you to create your own group. Kind of like Yahoo Groups.

By the way I can't see how Microsoft or Google fit into the above definition of a Monopoly. Microsoft doesn't control Mac OS/X, Linux or FreeBSD. And Google doesn't control the internet. In both cases a new player can come along and beat them at their own game. A case inpoint is how Google came from nowhere and is now on Microsoft's radar screen.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 06, 2004

There is more than one type of Monopoly. There are horizontal and vertical monopolies.

Jorel on Software
Sunday, June 06, 2004

Nope, you're not using monopoly correctly.

"Internet based email, search, IM, storage, news, covers IMO almost the full gamut of "content storage, retrieval and communication" sector of the Internet. Which leaves only _content generation_ to the others."

A monopoly ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly ) occurs when there is no competition for production of a good or service. (I would argue that the only true monopoly is one enforced by governmental power, but that's not important right now.) In every service you mention, there are a boatload of competitors and alternatives.

Internet-based email: Yahoo, Hotmail, .Mac, most ISPs offer web-based email, a quick search on SourceForge reveals many open-source web-based email clients available for download.

Search: this space is so crowded that it would take awhile just to name the major players.

IM: Yahoo, MSN, AOL, open-source Jabber. There's even a number of clients that integrate all of the above.

Storage: lots of web-based storage out there, plus there's free storage on every computer.

News: since Google News just aggregates news from other sources, there are still those other sources from which to obtain articles. Plus, all of the other major players in the portal biz offer aggregated news.

Strictly speaking, Google could never become a monopoly unless all of these competitors disappeared and Google was able to erect insurmountable barriers to entry *for the Web*, which is a ludicrous hypothetical.

Bill Brown
Sunday, June 06, 2004

That is my point. If monopoly is the term used with MS, then monopoly should be the term used with Google (once Gmail, GIM, etc gets popular enough like MS Windows). The definition that is used to deny Google the status of a monopoly is not the definition used to apply the term to MS.

PS: I picked up those definitions from Dictionary.com

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

I think you're mixing up "monopoly" with "most popular" - they're different.

Microsoft were declared a Monopoly because they forced computer makers among other things to ship Windows with Internet Explorer or not get cheap OEM prices. I don't see Google forcing anyone to do anything - hence them not being a monopoly.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 06, 2004

> I don't see Google forcing anyone to do anything - hence them not being a monopoly.

Nor do I. And I hope not they do not in 2010. But if 'fiducary interests' are the prime and may be only motivators, then......

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

"Microsoft were declared a Monopoly because they forced computer makers among other things to ship Windows with Internet Explorer or not get cheap OEM prices."

Whoa. This is *completely* inaccurate.

First of all, there is being a monopoly - that is having the power to fix prices or exclude competition. That is the Sherman Act definition, and it's the definition that matters. Now it so happens that the "percentage of the market" held is generally a good indicator that a monopoly exists, but it isn't behavior that the law is created to govern.

More interestingly, being a monopoly is not illegal. Abuse of monopoly power (or "monopolization") is what the antitrust laws were written to control - that is using monopoly power to maintain or grow the company's market position.

The big case was investigated 1990-1994, which investigated Microsoft's DOS licensing practices (this was the "pay for every box shipped" license). Microsoft signed a consent decree with the Dept of Justice in 1995 which restricted licensing practices.

Then in 1997 the Justice Department filed a complaint stating that MS violated the consent decree by requiring PC manufacturers bundle IE with Windows 95. This was the case that dragged out and continues to be negotiated to this day. Note that this wasn't a "license for every box" but rather an insistence that to put a Windows 95 license on a box, they had to put IE as well.

Also note that as an element of this case, the Justice Department had to show that MS was a monopoly, which they did by establishing the relevant market as "consumer desktop operating systems" and showing that MS held over 80% of that market. This was not the main finding in the case - simply that if MS wasn't a monopoly, the case wouldn't have made it out of the starting gate; bundling isn't illegal if you're not a monopoly.

The above is my personal attempt to simple walk through the factual timeline of the MS/DoJ cases. This post does not reflect any opinion or policy of Microsoft, Corp.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 06, 2004

I understand your confusion. The problem is that the term is generally misused. It is not illegal to have a monopoly on something - it is illegal to use the market leverage derived from that monopoly in one market to deny other competitors access to another.

So, if Microsoft had the dominant PC OS and told hardware makers that they would only sell it to them if they agreed to install Internet Explorer and NO other web browsers, that would have been illegal as unfair competition. They had an effective monopoly on the OS market before that supposed deal, but after they were commonly referred to as a monopoly with negative connotations because the laws they may have broken were the anti-monopoly laws.

That's the source of the confusion.

In Google's case, they have little or no consumer lock-in with which they could even try to leverage unfairly, so I'd doubt they could if they ever wanted to.

The real objection to your original sentiment was not your use of the term, but your underlying implications that one company being good at a lot of things was somehow bad for us, the consumer.

  --Josh

JWA
Sunday, June 06, 2004

"the laws they may have broken were the anti-monopoly laws" should have said "anti-monopolistic laws"

  --Josh

JWA
Sunday, June 06, 2004

More than monopoly it is mindshare that is really excruciating. Among many other things, my team writes text books. Computer Science text books for primary and secondary schools.

It is really a pain, I mean an oedipal discomfort in the fundament, to explain that Computing is not Word Processing, Word Processing is not MS Word, there is such a thing as an OS that is different from Windows, that one can browse the internet without IE and send emails without OE. And that is to the teachers and some of my team members.

Statements such as "One uses Internet Explorer to visit websites" in the theory class is wrong when teaching "The Internet". Practicals in the lab. Ok. Most institutions, make that all, have Windows. But it has to be ingrained early that MS is just a company (don't make me rant about how no one here appreciates or even knows the cost of MS Software, piracy be thanked) and that Windows is one OS, good, popular, effective, no doubt, but only one of the many, and that Notepad is a text editor and Word a word processor and Excel a spreadsheet (and _NOT_ a tool to format text into tables).

I do not want 13 year olds to learn "googling" as a verb in place of "searching the web" nor "gmail" to be common noun in place of "email".

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

"One uses Internet Explorer to visit websites"

[shrug] If you find yourself fighting uphill to make this the proper "one uses a web browser to visit websites" then just check with your corporate counsel - the examples you quote are trademark violations, and ones which really put the publisher at risk - check out the actions of Xerox and Coca-Cola in protecting their trademarks from becoming generic.

I can't comment on whether or not it would be enforced in this case, but it should give you ammo to get where you want to go. :-)

[this post is solely my opinion and does not reflect the policies of Microsoft Corp]

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 06, 2004

Yes. I'm scheduled to meet one of the editors of the publishing house to sort this out. Either rework the syllabi or give us editorial leeway to decide on class work vis-a-vis lab work.

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

Oh! And this is not in the U. S. of A. That makes it easier in some ways and darned tough in others!

.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

> Whoa. This is *completely* inaccurate.

Philo I think *completely* inaccurate would be to state something like "Microsoft were declared a Monopoly due to the price of bananas being fixed by them".

I was probably partially inaccurate - but hey, I'm not employed by Microsoft to astroturf on these forums, so I don't have all day to pour over the documents to understand the ins and outs of it. But suffice it say that IE bundling had something to do with Microsoft being labled a Monopoly.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 06, 2004

No, absolutely not. As in "not one iota of legal accuracy." Your most recent post has other problems, too.

First of all, my acquaintance with the Microsoft antitrust case has nothing to do with my employment. It's mostly a result of my following the case while I was in law school, and most notably in Antitrust class.

"that IE bundling had something to do with Microsoft being labled a Monopoly."

Okay, let's try this logically:
Netscape sues Microsoft for antitrust violations in bundling IE with Windows.
There are several elements to the alleged behavior:
- The actor must be a monopoly
- The alleged behavior must be based on the monopolized market (for example, bundling Spades with MS Bob would probably not be illegal)
- The alleged behavior must be an attempt to harm competition or maintain monopoly power.

Those are what are called "elements of the crime." If all the elements are not proved, the case fails - it's thrown out of court.

So for the IE bundling case to even get out of the starting gates, the absolute first step necessary is to prove that Microsoft holds a monopoly - if they don't, then Netscape and the Justice Department don't have a case.

So - an initial argument in the case was to define the market as "desktop operating systems" and show that Microsoft Windows accounted for a large percentage of that market. Judge Jackson then held that Microsoft held a monopoly in the desktop OS market, so the case could proceed.

Do you understand this had NOTHING to do with IE? It was a fundamental prerequisite to the IE case moving forward. Nor was it illegal in and of itself; it was the alleged behavior of a company holding a monopoly position that was on trial.

Finally, FWIW, MS doesn't pay me to be here - I do this on my own time. (in fact I'm on vacation this week)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 06, 2004

...and BTW, it's the lawyer in me that's annoyed by these legal misstatements, and the teacher in me that feels the need to straighten them out. :-)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 06, 2004

Speaking of being on MS payroll, who here thinks Joel is a paid MS evangelist of some kind?  Anybody notice how any post anti-MS gets deleted? And anybody notice how any deleted post still shows up for the original poster but is deleted for everybody else? (Try surfing through a proxy after all of the responses to your anti-MS post suddenly disappear, but your post 'remains' until you go through the proxy and see that actually it's gone).

Jeve Stobs
Sunday, June 06, 2004

> ...and BTW, it's the lawyer in me that's annoyed by these
> legal misstatements, and the teacher in me that feels
> the need to straighten them out. :-)

And the nerd in you that needs to nitpick tiny details when they are tangental to the discussion ;)

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 06, 2004

"Speaking of being on MS payroll, who here thinks Joel is a paid MS evangelist of some kind?"

He was working for MS once upon a time (the Excel team I think) in case you didn't know.

"Anybody notice how any post anti-MS gets deleted?"

No, because they don't. Really stupid trolls do get deleted, though, and there's a large amount of overlap between these two groups...

"And anybody notice how any deleted post still shows up for the original poster but is deleted for everybody else?"

Yes, because Joel himself has explained this feature in one of his blogs. (Sorry, no URL handy.)

Chris Nahr
Monday, June 07, 2004

"Anybody notice how any post anti-MS gets deleted?"

An experiment:

MS sucks!  Bill Gates has BO!  Steve Ballmer wets the bed!  Philo is astroturfing!  Word is for sissies!  Windows has Linux envy, and it's a cheap ripoff of the Mac, Next, and OS/2!

Now we'll see if this gets deleted.

Jim Rankin
Monday, June 07, 2004

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