defending the right to innovate
Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.
Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Robert Cringely has a nice article on pbs.org describing Google's secretiveness and unfair business methods in its advertisement services. A monopolist engaging in monopolistic practices is hardly surprising, and perhaps not worthy of mention even in this site. However I believe Google deserves special attention. Google is slowly but steadily working towards acquiring a dominant position in delivering human knowledge and information. Not only because it is the default search engine for most internet searches, but also because Google is actively storing all sorts of information. Take a look, for example, at its google base project, or at the more famous google library project. Google's chosen motto is "don't be evil", which many interpret to mean "we won't be Microsoft". Indeed, Google distinguishes itself from the software giant because it does thing just right. We all like its products, but this unfortunately increases its dominant position. For these reasons, I believe we should monitor Google's practices very carefully.
I'm not convinced that there is a problem here. Google has a lot of market share - but also a lot of competition. If they try to, for example, play favorites with their search, there are a lot of others - Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. - waiting to step in and take that market share away. I don't think the right measure of monopoly is market share but ease of entry - and generally it is the government that makes entry tough. I don't see that operating here. There is some economy of scale in running a search engine: to be good you have to index everything, but that turns out not to be so costly, as witness Google isn't the only one doing it.
[Comment at 05/30/2006 02:52 PM by David K. Levine]
I agree that ease of entry (and government-imposed barriers to entry) are better gauges of monopoly than market share. FWIW Google's market share has declined the last two years to 50% from 80%. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft and Yahoo! can continue to make significant inroads in the search market.
[Comment at 06/02/2006 08:02 PM by Bill Stepp]
Most Recent Comments
Killing people with patents I'm not really commenting the post, but rather asking if this blog is going to make a comeback
at 01/09/2018 03:46 AM by Anonymous
The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry
at 05/08/2015 08:35 AM by Dan Dobkin
Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace
at 04/10/2015 10:44 AM by Stephan Kinsella
The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default
at 04/10/2015 10:34 AM by Stephan Kinsella
Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without
at 01/08/2015 08:58 PM by Sheogorath
Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do
at 11/17/2014 04:48 AM by David K. Levine
Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous
at 10/29/2014 10:49 AM by Alexander Baker
Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.
at 09/20/2014 03:19 PM by Alexander Baker
WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:
at 06/28/2014 10:03 AM by Doris
WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,
at 06/28/2014 10:00 AM by Doris
What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic
at 05/05/2014 01:03 PM by Sheogorath
Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the
at 04/07/2014 04:47 AM by Dan McCracken
Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples
at 01/13/2014 06:13 AM by Anonymous
Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be
at 11/28/2013 05:03 PM by Stephanie Smith
at 11/28/2013 09:23 AM by Anonymous
at 11/28/2013 09:22 AM by Anonymous
Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you
at 11/24/2013 10:48 AM by SpaceCorp Technologies
at 11/20/2013 03:18 PM by Anonymous
Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since
at 11/02/2013 08:09 PM by Anonymous
Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who
at 11/02/2013 08:08 PM by Anonymous