It took AT&T stepping way over the line to get the Justice Dept. engaged, but who is to say that line won't be crossed again? And that some public officials who take the public interest and antitrust seriously won't act again?
The free market determines the price paid to colleges and conferences for televised games. If there are only four major conferences, there certainly is the possibility of something less than a free market.
We want to know that Google's activities have been legal, of course. But with Google's power, and their willingness to use that power to advance their business interests, I am just as interested in ascertaining that their activities have been fair.
People who think of Google as the provider of free search to the world may have difficulty understanding why the FTC has launched an investigation, or why Chairman Eric Schmidt was pressured to testify before the Subcommittee.
Any analogy between a potential antitrust case against Google and the antitrust case against Microsoft ignores the underlying facts and is a misguided over-simplification of the complicated nature of the on-line search market.
When a company with a half billion customers moves from being the social network into gaining a financial grip over consumers and web developers, Pandora's box is open. Let's hope the Federal Trade Commission shuts the lid very soon.
Much of what motivates supporters of an investigation of Google at the Federal Trade Commission is not a genuine desire to protect consumers, but a desire to protect competitors from Google's intense competitive nature.
Examining the larger set of documents from the initial phase of the Skyhook trial against Google is opening a window into Google executives' views on how they sought to reinforce Google's monopoly and collect personal information from its users.
The discussion of Google and antitrust has shifted in recent weeks from relevant market and anticompetitive behavior to consumer happiness. The problem is that consumers are not always the best judges of their own welfare.