News Corp CEO Robert Thomson has provided his say regarding the EU settlement with Google over antitrust issues. His view? That Google is “a platform for piracy” in that “it systematically diverts users away from the relevant sites to its own related sites for commercial reasons.”
Thomson’s words were written in a letter to the EU that he sent on September 8 that shares the view of a number of authorities who believe that Google has too much unrestrained power when it comes to Internet searches. Google’s own search engine handles about 90% of Web searches, and many say that Google refers users to its own mobile ads (which bring in income for the search engine giant/tech company), reducing the amount of fair competition Google has in mobile web wars.
Google claims that its methods aren’t done with the purpose of eliminating competition, and that its strategy has always been with the goal of benefiting users: “To date no regulator has objected to Google giving people direct answers to their questions for the simple reason that it is better for users,” said Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Schmidt also went on record as saying that Google has been going above and beyond expectations to make sure that its competition gets a fair opportunity in Web searches and mobile ads.
While Google may indeed be making strides in this endeavor, we can all face the facts: Google is a major player when it comes to search engine services. The company makes the majority of its profit from mobile ads and internet searches, which is one of the reasons why it offers Android OS and subsequent OS updates for mobile phones and tablets to millions of Android users.
In recent months, Google and Samsung have been at each other’s throats about Android, and how Samsung’s Gear Live, although a nice Android Wear smartwatch, doesn’t match the style of its own Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatch offerings. Samsung’s been working hard at increasing support for its Tizen OS, and Google doesn’t like this at all.
In fact, Google was upset with Samsung back in February when the company released its TabPRO and NotePRO tablets that provided tons of Samsung services to the exclusion of Google services. Google made it clear then that Samsung’s tablets on Android exist to serve Google – not Samsung. While Samsung decided to push Google services, the Korean manufacturer never stopped working on Tizen. The first-generation Galaxy Gear, having arrived on Android OS, can now be updated to Tizen.
And, it’s now obvious as to why Samsung moved its smartwatches to Tizen around the same time (if not a few months before) Google announced Android Wear at Google I/O 2014. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is a departure from Samsung’s usual feature-packed device because Google had some words with Samsung about too many software features.
Some Android purists (those who love vanilla Android) seem to believe that Google did this for their own interests, but the winner in this was Google, not consumers: Google wanted Samsung to push its own services, and adding Samsung’s own software, no matter how good or bad, would benefit Samsung’s bottom line instead of Google’s. In short, Google is a company that has never taken too kindly to competition in its own backyard. For a tech company that’s made so much money on mobile, why would it allow other competitors to get an equal share of the pie?
Thomson’s letter isn’t the first to argue that Google is an Internet search engine hog, but if his letter says anything, it’s that his claim won’t be the last. Google has been and today still is a tech company, but you’ve gotta admit – Mountain View is nearly everywhere on the World Wide Web. It’s like the old Visa commercial: “everywhere you want to be.”