Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.
By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.
What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.
Before I get to the actual provocative question, let’s talk about your favorite internet search engine.Google, right? Or maybe you’re one of the handful of people who use Bing. Or Yahoo. Or Duck Duck Go. I use Google. Why? Because it’s the best, in my opinion. But having been around since before personal computing was invented, I’ve used a bunch of search engines in my day. Infoseek, Yahoo, WebCrawler, Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, and maybe even a few others. Most of them are history now and Google is the big kahuna of search engines. So much so that the word “Google” is now a verb. Do you ever hear anyone use “Bing” as a verb, as in “Did you try to Bing it?”
My personal opinion, given that there have been dozens of search engines since the beginning of the internet age, is that the cream always rises to the top. That’s why Google is the dominant player in search engines. That’s why Amazon is at the top of the online shopping heap. They didn’t necessarily invent the industries, but they have excelled at it.
Okay, with that said, you might have heard that the U.S. Department of Justice, along with eleven state Attorney Generals, have filed a civil antitrust suit in order to “stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets. The intent is to not only break up Google, but to “make it pay” for the “competitive harm” it has done. Interestingly enough, the eleven states that are participating in the suit are all red (i.e., Republican) states.
So, with that as a background, my provocative question this week is this:
Do you think that the government (federal and state) should break up Google for having a virtual monopoly in the search engine arena. If so, why? If not, why not?
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