10 July 2008

The Google-Yahoo war should go to WTO, not Washington

I chanced upon this post by the Silicon Valley's respected Net-watcher Om Malik, and it seems he has forgotten his days in Delhi. Basically, he wonders if the war over Google's alliance with Yahoo (and by implication, Microsoft's acquisition/merger attempts) should go to the regulators -- by which he means Washington's powers-that-be.
The Internet is a global medium, and I don't quite fancy US-centric people holding forth as if the rest of the world does not matter. They have not learnt their lessons from Vietnam/Iraq, whatever...


So, here is my beginner's guide to anyone commenting on the Google-Yahoo saga

1) The US is not the only nation in the world. It is one of about 150. George W. Bush doesn't get this. Do you?

2) Google is a global search engine and Yahoo is a global media company. The World Trade Organisation (WTO), not Washington, is the place to decide anti-competition issues on this.

3) Online advertising is not the only kind of advertising. Google's share should be measured as a part of global advertising revenues in all media.

4) If online ads are to be treated separately, let it be done only for US IP addresses and let there be technologies to segregate and analyse all this. (That will give use to more startups.Wow!) Or else, revenues should be segregated on the basis of geographical origin.

5) Google is leading the process of creative destruction in the global media industry as a whole. Anything disruptive in this nature is by definition pro-competition until such time as it acquires critical mass in market-share. And digital ads have only just begun!

6) If Microsoft's desktop market share in OS or the browser war is not a problem, why should Google's online revenue share should be?

7)In the case of document standards, the International Standards Organisation showed the way to go. Let there be a similar global discourse (oops, do they use this word at Stanford? Must ask my friends from Oxford). This should be done at the World Trade Organisation.

Geneva, not Washington, is the place to decide this. And Mountain View and Wall Street are small dots on Google Earth.

Or how about the United Nations, Om?

1 comment:

sunilmalhotra said...

For a short moment let's reflect upon the US point of view. After all their perceptions have always been the world's realities. Most of what the US 'knows' about the rest of the world is a figment of Washington's imagination. (Even their figment can be so huge - if you've ever tried to finish a meal America, you'll know I'm talking about scale - that it gains the proportions reality to them). Wasn’t it the US that invented "Virtual Reality"?

So the US reality gives them the power to rule the world.

After all ...

1. They are the only 'superpower' in the world. Therefore they are superior to any body - WTO, UN,unameit.

2. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What do you think being a superpower does? Oh! and isn't might right?

Sunils theorem:
Virtual Reality + Power + Corruption = Denial (a.k.a delusion, hallucination, stuck in a time warp, the ostrich syndrome.)

Now let's look at it from the outside in. What gave US the power that corrupted. Numbers right?

OK so US has the largest -
- number of people in a single country. Sure. They should then rename it China.

- Geographical territory. Sure. They should then rename it Russia.

- number of billionaires. Sure. It doesn't matter to the rest of the world how many zillionaires you have.

What can Washington with it’s billionaires in tow buy with their money power in a world where the currency has changed from money to freedom of choice.

They can buy information, control aerospace, destroy nations, put a man on the moon, produce box-office grossers, control the media and perhaps own or trade every other materialistic asset.

But try using money to buy wisdom. Especially the wisdom of the crowds.

UN or WTO, Washington or Shanghai, WMD or Taliban. Don't try to be the conscience keeper of the world.

Let the people of the world decide for themselves and use the money to give effect to their decisions.