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Submission + - Time to Loosen Google's Grip?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Steven Pearlstein writes in the Washington Post that Google has cleverly used its near-monopoly in Web search and search advertising and the profits it generates to achieve dominant positions in adjacent or complementary markets moving into operating system and application software, mobile telephone software, e-mail, Web browsers, maps, and video aggregation. The problem "is in allowing Google to buy its way into new markets and new technologies, particularly when the firms being bought already have a dominant position in their respective market niches," writes Pearlstein. That was certainly the case with the company's acquisitions of YouTube, DoubleClick and AdMob and with Google's proposed $700 million acquisition of ITA Software. "One at a time, these deals might appear to be relatively benign. But taken together, they allow Google to increase the scale and scope of its activities and to further enhance its controlling position across a range of sectors." It's worth remembering that aggressive enforcement of the antitrust laws has been a crucial part of the history of technological innovation in this country with enforcement like the ATT divestiture that led to a surge of competition in the long distance telecommunications market by companies such as Sprint and MCI. "So far, neither the Justice Department nor the Federal Trade Commission has been willing to use [anti-trust regulation] to mount a broad challenge to Google and its strategy of using acquisitions to expand and protect its existing monopoly," adds Pearlstein. "It's easy to see why Google would want to use well-chosen acquisitions to try to delay or prevent that next round of creative destruction. What's harder to understand is why we would let them do it."""

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