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
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 ;-).
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This week's video is here:
Topic of the Week: Anti-trust Gets Real
- Justice Dept to accuse Google of Anti-Trust Violations - New York Times
Reads of the Week
- Mark Zuckerberg on the US Elections and Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg
- Windows 95 & the Web made each other a hit - Om Malik
- The World Population in 2100, by Country - Visual Capitalist
- Visualizing the 10 Types of Innovation - Visual Capitalist
- Take Ownership of Your Future Self - Harvard Business Review
Raising Cash and Going Public
- Some Thoughts On SPACs - Fred Wilson
- An IPO expert bats back at the narrative that traditional IPOs are for ‘morons’ - TechCrunch
- Technology Gurus Hoffman, Pincus to Raise $600 Million SPAC - MarketWatch
- 20VC: SPACs. What Are They? Why Now? How Do They Change The Venture Landscape? - Harry Stebbings
- Asana debt raise - The week’s biggest IPO news had nothing to do with Monday’s S-1 deluge - TechCrunch
- Why Direct Listings Just Became A Lot More Attractive As An IPO Alternative - Crunchbase News
Politics and Technology
- California’s 2020 Budget Solution: A Startup Equity Tax - The Information
- China Tightens Tech Export Rules Amid TikTok Talks - Wall Street Journal
- Our philosophy is simple… (Steve Jobs) - MG Siegler
- Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2020 - Visual Capitalist
- Apple Terminates Epic Games' Developer Account - MacRumors