I have followed these anti-trust cases with great interest, and I have been skeptical from the very beginning.
Take the headlines of the Microsoft case, specifically speaking those about Internet Explorer and media player, and consider them carefully. The main claim was that Microsoft was abusing their dominant position, by bundling certain products with Windows – Internet Explorer being one of them.
Of course they are in their right to do that, and it’s not like they blocked us from installing alternative software – Which most of us did – especially since IE was one of the worst browsers on the market.
The root psychology surrounding big companies is actually quite interesting, because typically there will always be some public mistrust to be found, no matter how well these companies in reality behave.
Presumptions and speculation
I am very skeptical when it comes to empty speculation and conspiracy theories, you know, of the kind that is spreading on the web, and which is often posted by certain people among your Facebook friends.
Of these, there are three groups of people that I am aware of:
- One is simply the mentally ill, irrationally paranoid, and happy to support conspiracy theories.
- Another is concerned, but ignorant – their fears are usually baseless or blown out of proportion. I.e. Privacy evangelists.
- The third is the religiously motivated, often they will be sharing both conspiracy theories, cures for cancer, and other nonsense from the category of alternative medicine.
What the three have in common, is their fact-less argumentation, and use of fear to convince people about their – usually – silly ideas. First it was Microsoft, now it’s Google, and why am I not surprised?
The European Union
It seems as if they are just invading onto private property, recklessly taking away, not just the rights of companies, but also the rights of individuals. It's clearly the case with the Cookie law, and it really seems to be the case with Microsoft.
You simply can’t discriminate companies because they have become “to big” in your eyes. You also can’t can't make decisions based on empty speculation and fear of what happens, if this or that were to happen.
I think Microsoft and Google have been unfairly and unjustly targeted by the EU, and i think it happened due to ignorant people being in power, people who have a very poor understanding of technology – Seriously, some of these politicians likely still struggle to check their own e-mail!
Authorities should never tread on private property, unless it’s truly necessary.
In the case of Internet Explorer and Media Player, users have always had a free choice. You can’t really blame Microsoft for not informing people about the obvious, or accuse them for not providing free advertisement for competing products. It goes against common sense. Everyone has to pay for their own marketing!
Everyone who knew how to use Windows back then, would also install alternatives sooner or later – simply because they were better. Sadly, many of them also shared this anti-Microsoft attitude, simply because it was fun and trending to hate on Microsoft.
These days, everyone knows that VLC Player is "the best" video player, and Chrome or Firefox the best web browsers. It’s not simply about personal preference, its about quality. It doesn't make sense to confuse users with choices, simply for the sake of choices. Once users realize what works better, why would they choose the inferior products? If Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer where the best options, why would you force consumers to use inferior products?
Hate on Google - the Google antitrust case
Who cares if books.google.com is ranking before amazon.com. I'd say that thinking and making basic decisions is not what we have search engines for. People are actually required and expected to think for themselves in this world. This includes sometimes using the scroll weal on their mouse, clicking on other pages in the search results, and taking the necessary time to research things for themselves.
People who believe in these theories, often have very limited, or no understanding at all, as of how search rankings work. If they happen to discover some random search query where one of Google's pages happen to rank higher, they instantly yell conspiracy. Hopefully the EU will not show the same degree of stupidity – but i wouldn't be surprised if the do, considering the poor judgement they already displayed in the Microsoft case. Of course Google shouldn't cheat with search rankings, bot the EU also shouldn't recklessly abuse people and companies operating within EU.
What i think we really need, is to be more aware of how governments also abuse their power, as was obviously the case with Microsoft.