The big dirty corporate uber-bad-guys

The big dirty corporate uber-bad-guys

That’s right, they’re the top dogs in the business; with “unprecedented control” in the technology industry and “access to a huge amount of consumer information”. And a concerned member of the technology community recently put out the call for scrutiny on the new big boys in town “from regulatory authorities to ensure a competitive... market”. Sounds like old news, huh? You know which big dirty corporate bad guys I’m referring to? The baddest of the lot... Google of course.

And really, this concerned member of the community is right to be concerned. I mean, their name and Google’s name keep popping up together, with Google proclaimed the new biggest guys on the block. And then they purchased Double Click and skyrocketed even further up.

But being the new leader in the industry has its pitfalls. One has to make sure one doesn’t succumb to the temptation of getting too big, to rich, and losing one’s scruples (if one had any to begin with). Yep, Google are getting big, and so some well meaning neighbourhood watch types are watching and encouraging the other neighbours and law enforcement to watch as though the community has become embroiled in some kind of techno virtual Desperate Housewives scenario. And who are these concerned citizens, these nosy next door neighbours, these paragons of virtue expressing the fears of the community and pleading for a close and watchful eye?

Well Microsoft, obviously.

On April 15th, Microsoft released this press release, raising their concerns about the buyout because it may well turn out to be anti-competitive if Google ends up with this monopoly and all the associated information.

And Microsoft should know.

When I read this press release, I was so shocked by the sheer audacity and hypocrisy of what they were saying that I was rendered temporarily speechless. I couldn’t even begin to imagine where to start. I’m not going into great detail, but I’ll leave you with these bits and pieces. “Access to a huge amount of consumer information”? Well I won’t use this as a forum for laying into Microsoft Genuine Advantage, but if you want some info, you can look here, here and here. And government intervention to “ensure a competitive... market”? If you type the search "Microsoft as non competitive" into Google, the fourth entry is the civil action by the USA against Microsoft... to prevent them from... “using exclusionary and anticompetitive [behaviours]”. Well, I guess they know the warning signs, huh.



Laurie Langham's picture

The unbridled effrontery of M$ aside, I got rid of Google somewhere back in Mandrake 9x. Searches I'd 'Googled', hours, or even days before, would keep popping up in my browser again, and this suggested an unhealthy level of intrusive behaviour on the part of Google.

When Google dobbed in that journalist to the Chinese government, because their market share could have been threatened otherwise, they made me want to throw up. He's probably still in some Gitmo gulag, getting re-educated, while Google's stock prices continue to soar.

With the probable exception of M$, most software and services companies begin life by providing the best product they are able for their customers.

As they climb the corporate ladder, their primary obligation, to their customers, gets subverted by the demands of their shareholders, for ever increasing profits.

These 'investors' don't care whether the company is selling software or cluster-bombs. They don't care that the CEO lays off half of the development staff and tries to get the remainder to do the same amount of work for reduced wages. They couldn't care less that the company is driven to amoral business practices to maintain the golden river of loot, so long as their pockets continue to get lined.

In the face of these demands, the only remaining path, for the CEO, is ever upwards, towards eventual monopoly.

The customers are virtually forgotten. Costs are cut and profits are maximised, by any means, fair or foul.

If there are any competing products, then they must be taken over, or driven out of business, so all potential profits flow into the pockets of the CEO's own shareholders.

The entire corporate structure, and their attendant financial parasites, hate the free software community, because we short circuit this self-defeating cycle of greed.

That is why we continue to face monstrous legislation like IPRED2, which, incidentally, passed the first reading at Strasbourg the other day.(see “Act now on next week's EP vote on IPRED2” in Free Software Magazine - p2)

Author information

Bridget Kulakauskas's picture


Bridget has a degree in Sociology and English and a keen interest in the social implications of technology. She has two websites: Illiterarty and The Top 10 Everything. She also handles accounts and administration for Free Software Magazine.