Two Tribes Go To War – DC versus Silicon Valley

The anti big-tech stance of DC is a replacement for any genuinely innovative or progressive outlook from either of the main political parties. Shame on both of them.

Two Tribes Go To War - DC versus Silicon Valley

Barr accuses Google of bad behavior (no irony intended)

That Was The Week, #34

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Attorney General Barr is apparently about to launch a case against Google for anti-trust violations. The New York Times reports that:

A coalition of 50 states and territories support antitrust action against Google, a reflection of the broad bipartisan support that a Justice Department case might have. But state attorneys general conducting their own investigations into the company are split on how to move forward, with Democrats perceived by Republicans as slow-walking the work so that cases can be brought under a potential Biden administration, and Democrats accusing Republicans of rushing it out under Mr. Trump.

There was probably never a more glaring example of DC’s hostility to Silicon Valley. A bi-partisan cabal fighting each other to lead the charge against “big tech”. The difference between Barr and say Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren on this topic is somewhere between wafer thin and non-existent.

To be clear, I believe Google is a human treasure (not just a national treasure). Since Larry and Sergey figured out “pagerank” back in the 1990s the human race has been able to rely on an indexed universe of discoverable content at the click of a mouse. The company got big by being good. And advertisers usually follow audience.

In recent years Google’s dominance in web search has been less and less of a defensive moat as we humans have flocked to mobile devices. Advertisers have flocked with them, pouring billions a quarter into the mobile eyeball winners – Facebook, Instagram, and a small number of others. The “cost per click” on web searches has been in decline. Google has struggled to find additional business models and is certainly far from being a monopoly over anything. This article from June spells it out

Google Ad Revenues to Drop for the First Time

For the first time since we began estimating ad revenues at Google, the company’s net US digital ad revenues will decline in absolute terms. Facebook and Amazon will continue to grow but at severely depressed rates compared with earlier expectations.

The anti big-tech stance of DC is a replacement for any genuinely innovative or progressive outlook from either of the main political parties. Shame on both of their houses.

Also this week is the 25th anniversary of Windows 95. Om Malik has a wonderful piece explaining that it was Windows 95 that helped the web win. He is right. I was a founder of Europe’s first consumer ISP in 1994. We opened for business in Whitfield Street in London, in August 1994, in a 4 storey storefront building. We put the world’s first cyber cafe – CYBERIA – into the storefront and it attracted Maurice Saatchi, Mick Jagger and Johnny Pigozzi as investors. Sinead O’Connor was an early visitor.

At EasyNet we built our own Internet installer that worked on Windows because Windows did not then have a TCP/IP stack. Trumpet Winsock was the software that made Internet possible until Windows 95 was released.

Widows XP was the OS in 1994 for EasyNet users and Café visitors. But in 1995 EasyNet became Microsoft’s London launch partner for Windows 95. It was the first Windows with a native TCP/IP stack. We floated EasyNet on the stock exchange a few months later. Without Windows 95 growth would have been much slower. From a service for geeks, EasyNet became a service for everybody. Easynet was worth over $1 billion within 3 years. Windows 95 was a big part of it. Thank you Brad Silverberg ;-).

Best Keith.

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This week’s video is here:

Topic of the Week: Anti-trust Gets Real

Reads of the Week

Raising Cash and Going Public

Politics and Technology

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