Will Google be broken up?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · February 18, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/6dd

President Obama's antitrust pick likens Google to Microsoft

 Christine Varney, nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. antitrust chief, may be out to break up Google. Or at the least, she seems to be letting it known that she'll be keeping a close eye on it. 

Varney has described Google as a "monopoly" that will be as powerful in the computing world as Microsoft was in the software.

Here's what she said to Bloomberg: “For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem,” Varney said at a June 19 panel discussion sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute. The U.S. economy will “continually see a problem -- potentially with Google” because it already “has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising,” she said. 

Still, Google is “quickly gathering market power in what I would call an online computing environment in the clouds,” she said, using a software industry term for software that is based on the Internet rather than in individual personal computers.

“When all our enterprises move to computing in the clouds and there is a single firm that is offering a comprehensive solution,” Varney said, “you are going to see the same repeat of Microsoft.” As in the Microsoft case, “there will be companies that will begin to allege that Google is discriminating” against them by “not allowing their products to interoperate with Google’s products,” Varney said.

TechFlash transcribed additional statements from Varney from an audio file on the AAI site.

"If any of my colleagues or friends from Google, or who represent Google, are here, I invite you to jump up and scream and yell at me. For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem.  I think we’re going to continually to see a problem, potentially, with Google, who I think so far has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising lawfully. I do not think they have done anything other than be a spectacular, innovative company. I’m deeply troubled by their acquisition of DoubleClick, and I’m deeply troubled by their deal with Yahoo. I submit to you that this administration, although they may open a investigation or a review of the Google-Yahoo deal, will do nothing. I think this is a classic area to explore, how do you apply Section 2 in a highly innovative, highly networked, not terribly competitive environment."

However President Obama's administration handles Google's domination is yet to be seen. It's clear that Varney didn't raise this issue if she weren't going to be overly observant of the search giant. Google better be on its best behavior under her watch. And, if Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, ever thought he could woo President Obama by being an informal tech advisor to the administration, he was clearly wrong.

(Image source: 8vsb.files )

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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