On Monday the Obama Administration informed corporate America of its intention to aggressively up the stakes with regard to investigating big firms abusing their dominant market positions. The announcement, delivered by Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, marks a return to the Clinton-era during which Microsoft felt the heat.
Meanwhile, the EU yesterday fined Intel a record $1.45 billion (surpassing last year’s Microsoft fine of $1.3 billion) for abusing its dominant market power, with particular regard to the world’s second largest supplier of PC chips – Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Following the EU’s crucifixion of Microsoft, and now Intel, all eyes are on Google – no surprise here. Yet, with all their free, hip, and privacy invading tools Google seems to be tolerated by authorities as well as citizens across Europe and beyond. However, if you combine Google’s already astral market dominance with their many (and ever increasing) privacy invading products one can understand if the European Commission’s anti-trust lawyers are now focusing their attention on Google.
Google users, and quite possibly privacy minded public bodies, go through a shock-then-acceptance process, as explained by Mike Elgan on Datamation. Remember Googling your name, remember seeing your house on Google Maps, seeing your street in Street View, realising what Google does with your Gmails…shock, then acceptance. If you haven’t tried out their latest offering, Google Latitude give it a spin. Oh yeah, there’s also Google Health, guess what information Google is after with that application?
Will the Commission mirror developments across the pond? It’s looking increasingly likely given that privacy issues and abuse of market dominance makes for a very explosive combination and Google is, whether they like it or not, at the epicentre of it all!