Well it looks like its Googles turn in the barrel as its been subpoenaed to show up in front of Congress to discuss it’s business practices as there is a feeling as the search giant expands, that some of its new ventures my cross the line. The question is what line and second is the line outdated as it was created in the age of industrialization when “iron” ruled the world in the manufacture of trains and automobiles. A brilliant age when the “iron horse” was king and the iconic industrial robber barons such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Sloan held the reins of Americas industrial might close to their chest and even closer to their pocket book.
However it wasn’t until the hey-day of “Ma Bell” where we see the first casualty of an industrial rule of law applied to the “information age” sending pieces of the once iconoclastic giant to the four winds in the form of a ritualistic Tibetan air burial. Was this a good thing or not is the question we must ask ourself as would we as Americans have been better off in a one wire world or not? As one of the interesting facts to come from non-monopolistic actions is what I’ve referred to as “growth by cannibalism”, as yes it’s a rather grotesque visual however appropriate in what happens is a feeding cycle which creates the likes of “World Com” who rose from the case of monopolistic disassembly only to fail themselves and their pieces are then consumed for pennies on the dollars by others who mutate the asset into there own value proposition.
This cannibalistic cycle is what makes me scratch my head with wonder as we doing the right thing in tearing down our giants or should we be supporting them? If we look to the east at China, we will quickly see that the government has one foot in every business. While social control of a capitalistic enterprise is not something which I can or would support, however that doesn’t mean we should accept business and legal models which are over a century old as companies such as Google and Microsoft have options as unlike their brick and mortar forefathers who where constrained by physical ties due to customer and resource bound logics. Here in there world they can exist anywhere the electron can travel as it knows no geographic boundaries.
Maybe it’s time we dust off Congress along with the existing set of laws which have come from the days of Carnegie to what can we do to promote competitive growth of the likes of Google, Microsoft and the like as in the new information based world order the business model has changed. Let’s take for example the former browser wars as what did this get “us” the consumer along with Microsoft? Yes Virginia really nothing as Netscape is gone, and Google Chrome is kicking Microsofts butt in the browser space. So did Microsoft win the war in the end as the reality is the best product will win and frankly Netscape didn’t have it. Yet who pocketed the value out of all of this as it surely wasn’t the two companies.
In the end it was personal political agendas rallying against greater goals which implied a bureaucratic tax for the simple sake there maybe a fox scouting out the hen house. While competition is good, this must also be in the context of creating over all value rather then taking a short sighted approach as our economic systems are no longer closed as they are now global and subject to differing conditions as we can no longer view the world only in Sepia tones…