The European Commission has charged Alphabet-Google with abusing its dominance in the market for “general Internet search services,” by implementing an Android “strategy of mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general Internet search.” The EU objects to a variety of secret Google contract conditions to manufacturer licenses to leverage the dominant (>90% share) Android OS to secretly restrict and foreclose competition in ways that ultimately harm consumer choice and innovation. The EU effectively charged that Google has already anticompetitively extended its >90% dominance in search to dominance in the >90% share of the “licensable smart mobile operating system,” and to dominance in the >90% share of the “app stores for the Android” market.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) describes itself thus: “An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress.” Under the Barack Obama Administration, it has been none of these things.
There is much bemoaning of the loss of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C. Gone, they say, are the grand bargains – the two Parties coming together to reach deals that solve problems. Such the loss, they say.
Net Neutrality is a really stupid, anti-capitalism policy – that the Barack Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally (and likely illegally) jammed down our throats in February 2015.
Network Neutrality is a really stupid, anti-capitalism policy – that outlaws on the Internet several basic, fundamental free market tenets that are in practice in every other sector of a functioning economy.
I’ve heard the following quote ascribed to National Basketball Association (NBA) player, coach and executive Pat Riley – but the Internet is not giving up the ghost on provenance to him or anyone else. As I recall, the recitation is: “That player is drowning in Lake Me.” Meaning a person who is totally self-absorbed. Transfixed by their own navel (which actually has a name – Omphaloskepsis). A person who finds himself endlessly fascinating – and utterly invaluable.
And that, in a nutshell, is the lion’s share of Google’s business model. And business – is booming. Google is worth a net $350 billion. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Denmark – is $342 billion.
Few outside of Alphabet-Google understand the immense market, economic, and technological power of an unaccountable monopoly over the underlying software that controls most all mobile devices in the world. Fortunately EU antitrust enforcers are some of the few who understand it.
Looking backwards at 1934-era Title II telephone utility law, the FCC concluded in its 2015 Open Internet Order that only broadband providers could be “gatekeepers” warranting net neutrality regulation to “protect and promote the “virtuous cycle” that drives innovation and investment on the Internet.”
We free marketeers repeatedly reassert the obvious – that government abusing the private sector hurts the private sector. Pro-government fetishists try mightily to deny Reality – claiming that bigger government doesn’t damage the sectors over which it lords.
In the next several weeks, expect the EC’s Competition Directorate to decide that Google is in fact dominant with >90% share of Internet search in Europe and that Google has abused its search dominance by biasing its own Shopping service over competitors. It also could formally charge Google for abuse of its search dominance in contractually tying Google Search and other search-driven apps like Maps, YouTube, etc. to Android to extend its search dominance to mobile search and to the operating system market where Android now owns >80% share.
With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 by Re/Code, Wheeler began by citing the high prices consumers pay for set-top box rentals and bemoaning the fact that alternatives are not easily available.
In arbitrarily applying Title II telecommunications rules to only the ISP half of Internet communications, while politically exempting the entire edge half of Internet communications in its Open Internet order, the FCC has ensured that information that was proprietary and controllable in the closed telephone world becomes public and uncontrollable in the open Internet world.
The age-old analogy describing a good salesman is “He can sell ice to Eskimos.” Let us now contemplate the opposite. What if someone has repeatedly screwed up so terribly – they could damage the sale of the hottest of commodities to a full panoply of desperate buyers? How could anyone hamstring a water auction – in the desert?
Media bias is hydra-headed in its perniciousness. It operates on many levels – in many ways. One of its practitioners’ favorite moves is the terrible headline. In which they knowingly – or unknowingly – tip their hand on the story at hand. These heinous headlines can effectively work to sway casual, drive-by media consumers – who don’t go deep into multiple articles to get a more fully-formed idea.
Does the FCC’s concept of a “virtuous circle of innovation” mean fostering a full and true “circle of innovation,” of not only edge provider innovation, but also ISP innovations of zero-rating pricing plans that lower users’ bandwidth costs and better fund more broadband deployment?
Given that the USTelecom v. FCC appellate challenge of the FCC’s Open Internet Order is so important to net neutrality, the FCC’s authority over the Internet, and broadband providers’ future, and given that Judge Tatel’s thinking is so important to the outcome of this case, wouldn’t it be important to better understand Judge Tatel’s personal reasoned public explanation of how courts adjudicate cases just like USTelecom v. FCC?
You know there are big problems with the so called “principle” of net neutrality when the New York Times writes an editorial headlined “Why Free Can Be a Problem on the Internet” and their editorial has nothing to do with protecting consumers’ privacy/safety or protecting content from piracy, but it is only about the potential problem of consumers enjoying free Internet content for marketing purposes!
Network Neutrality is a unilateral and completely unnecessary government-intrusion-and-imposition on the entirety of the Internet – and the trillions-of-dollars-economy that has arisen around it. Net Neutrality is one fantasy – based upon another.