03 July 2010

What Level of Scrutiny on Google+ITA (aka Troogle)?

This was not going to be a quick and short post as I could use all my Professor skills to analyze the issue. However in starting to do some research on the subject I went back and visited some of my old posts on the subject. I have long felt that Google was already a monopoly in Travel before the acquisition. Troogle has a hot topic in 2008 and 2009. Then the chatter died down. So I reprint here for your edification and reading pleasure a post I did last year on the subject on what I think the Obama Administration is planning to use as a frame of reference on Google’s activities in travel.

Here are a few salient points.

1. I believe that the review time will take more than Admob. In the case of Admob – there are a large number of different options and it is a nascent business too early in its cycle to say that there will be a single business who can dominate.
2. Travel is a more defined category and the tentacles of the dark side that Google has become stretch far and deep and wide.
3. US law will prevail and US law is very specific in this area of what defines monopoly and how it can impact the transaction. (see below)

But – I want to be clear that I do not necessarily believe that Troogle will be bad for the industry. There are now clear winners and losers who will be impacted by the transaction. The world of GDS dominated distribution for one is probably headed for the sunset. The cost structure of meta-search on both the supply side and the seller side will be seriously impacted to the point where meta search may become irrelevant.

So what do you think? Let me know directly or privately.


POST August 31st 2009:

[Professor Sabena's Blog] Is Google A Monopoly?

I have this uneasy feeling about Google. The power they wield is significant. Fine if they don't abuse it - or is it? And what if they do actually use their power and abuse it?

I have written columns on this going back to 2006, here are two of my older posts on the subject:


It seems that the Seattle Times and other Media outlets have started to feel the same way too. Today's editorial was somewhat less than subtle. The Times (a right wing paper in my view since it crushed the old Seattle PI), is calling for Google to be investigated for being in violation of the Sherman Act.


A quote from the Obama Administration assistant attorney general for antitrust, Christine Varney, as saying that Google was America's most obvious antitrust problem — Microsoft was "so last century" she said... ouch.

The editorial called for an investigation of Google under the Sherman Act. Section 2 which says:

Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony...

That has been the law of the United States since 1890. All it requires (per the Seattle Times) is that the Justice Department pick it up and use it.

Should we accept that Google is being altruistic all the time or is there something more sinister about Google? It seems that Google's hand has to be forced sometimes - hardly the behavior of a good global citizen.

For my own part - I am happy to use the Google search engine but I remain leery of Google's force in the market. It is downright scary the amount of power they have.

So what do you think?


Posted By Professor Sabena to Professor Sabena's Blog at 8/31/2009 12:36:00 PM

No comments: