Twitter and Google

April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

This from Ben Thompson over at Stratechery:

Twitter’s story in many respects makes me think of Google: both companies started out benefiting greatly from openness and the power of both connecting users to what they were interested in and opening up powerful APIs to developers. The monetization model is even similar … Over time, though, Google has pulled more and more of its utility onto its own pages (and the revenue balance in the company has followed), just as Twitter focused on its own apps, and now Google is even starting to eat its best customers like travel websites and insurance agents, just like Twitter ate Datasift.

Of course, for Google this has turned into a much bigger problem than it has for Twitter. While Twitter has only pissed off tech and developer communities (where some like Thompson above actually understand why Twitter is following such a strategy), Google is consistently facing problems from anti-trust regulators.

The European Commission on Wednesday said Google gives “systematic favourable treatment” to its shopping service, Google Shopping, in its general search results. That may artificially divert traffic from rival comparison shopping services and hinder their ability to compete, it argued. “Users do not necessarily see the most relevant results in response to queries—this is to the detriment of consumers, and stifles innovation,” the commission said in a statement. “To remedy such conduct, Google should treat its own comparison shopping service and those of rivals in the same way.” While Wednesday’s complaint focused on shopping-related results, EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said the agency is examining Google’s conduct in other vertical areas, such as “hotels or flights or maps.”

Google’s just too big in information space to get away with such encroachments. Much like Microsoft was too big in software during late 1990s/early 2000s and faced similar scrutiny by EU regulators.

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