Punished For Being Too Successful

 Posted by on 19 March 2006 at 10:59 am  Uncategorized
Mar 192006

Here are two stories from the technology sector, showing how some folks want to punish companies not for their failures but for their successes.

The first story concerns a website that is filing a lawsuit against Google because they are unhappy with their low rankings on Google searches.

“Web site files complaint against Google”

KinderStart alleges Google has engaged in anticompetitive behavior and misled the public by positioning its search engine as an objective source for finding Internet content. The suit seeks unspecified financial damages and a court order that would require Google to change its ways.

…This time, KinderStart is the one making accusations of free-speech violations — in Google’s case, by reducing the traffic sent to Web sites that have been wrongfully punished.

…[KinderStart attorney Gregory] Yu hopes to prove Google has become an ‘essential facility’ that should be required to warn Web sites before dropping them from the index.

Although I am sharply critical of Google’s China policy, this lawsuit is an entirely separate issue and Google is the victim here.

The second story is about a proposed French law to require Apple to share proprietary information about digital music formats with commercial rivals in order to level the playing field (for the consumer’s sake of course), and to force Apple to sell iPods with the capacity to play Sony-formatted music.

“France finishes copyright law to open up iTunes”

Thanks to the massive success of the iPod models — in the United States, the players accounted for 72 percent of the portable media player market in 2005, according to NPD Group — iTunes has become the global leader in online music sales. The iPod is currently designed not to play music from rival services.

…”Without guaranteed interoperability, we run a major risk of captive client bases and an anti-competitive situation, with the consumer held hostage as a result,” read the explanatory note accompanying one of the key amendments.

There was also a very interesting tidbit in this related story:

Some industry observers predicted that Apple would prefer to close down its French iTunes store rather than comply with the new law.

I hope Apple has the cojones to follow through!

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