Last week the European Union declared war on Google — one of the most successful American companies of all time. Instead of the U.S. Government rushing to the rescue of this Silicon Valley legend, the Obama administration piled on.
No wonder our economy isn’t growing.
Here’s the story in a flash. Europe can’t compete with Google so instead it will fight with lawsuits and harassment. Brussels has accused Google of antitrust violations because it installs into the popular Android smart phone software apps that favor Google features, such as Google Maps over competitor products.
“Our concern,” complains Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s anti-trust chief, “is that by requiring phone makers and operators to preload a set of Google apps, Google may have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.” That’s ridiculous because it was largely Google technology that made apps work on smart phones in the first place.
The EU wants to force Google to offer its competitors’ products on the Android phone. Next thing you know, McDonald’s is going to be slapped with an antitrust complaint for not offering Wendy’s fries.
We have here 19th century antitrust mumbo jumbo that is being applied against Google because it has gained a “dominant” market share. The same might be said of this year’s Golden State Warriors!
Well, it’s true that Google’s Android technology has a commanding two-thirds market share in Europe. How did that happen? By building a better smart phone technology. And if Europeans want access to all these alternative apps, they have a simple market remedy: buy a different phone.
What a laughable proposition that Google hurts consumers. How? Prices for software, cell phones, Internet searches and so on have been plummeting in cost for decades. The EU says consumers need “more choices.” There are many competitors to the Android technology — and those alternatives don’t favor Google products. Why should Google be punished for having the most popular product? Once ATT and Microsoft were thought to be monopolies and it was market forces that evaporated their lead.
So now Google must spend tens of millions of dollars defending itself against spurious allegations of monopoly behavior. The Eurozone is using trumped up antitrust charges to improve the competitiveness of their own second-rate smart phone and other technology products. Similar claims have previously been brought against Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.
Again, who is defending Google on our side of the pond? No one. The egg heads in Washington are launching their own investigation into whether Google violated restraint of trade laws. This only validates predatory foreign claims against American companies. It’s like a team injuring it’s best player before the game.
Can anyone imagine the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, or the Chinese suing one of their own home-grown companies for being TOO successful? Never.
The antitrust cops under Obama have been hyperactive in blocking multi-billion dollar mergers of American companies — from airlines to tech companies to retailers to energy firms — supposedly to protect consumers. In one recent week they blocked the Halliburton and Baker Hughes merger and the Pfizer-Allergan marriage. They are also blocking the Staples and Office Depot merger, which Staples argues persuasively is necessary because all of the competition now is with online retailers like Amazon who are putting retailers out of business.
All told 150 mergers have been blocked by the feds under Obama, according to CNNMoney. This doesn’t protect consumers, it injures U.S. competitiveness. Mergers lead to economies in production costs and are more likely to lower than raise prices.
It’s not just Obama fighting against our own companies. Hillary Clinton has promised that if she becomes president she would “beef up the antitrust enforcement arms of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission,” and hire “aggressive regulators” in order to “better understand the link between market consolidation and stagnating incomes.”
All of this is another painful reminder that no one in Washington takes competitiveness seriously anymore. Donald Trump is fond of saying that the rest of the world laughs behind our back. Here’s another example of a policy that has Putin, the Chinese, Indians, and Saudis rolling on their back with tears of joy streaming down their cheeks. The only real dangerous monopoly in our economy is that the government has cornered the market on stupidity.
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