Posted March 25, 2009 5:49 pm by with 12 comments

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I think the moral of this story will end up being something about stones and glass houses. Apparently, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently criticized the lack of transparency in the banking industry to the BBC. So what, you ask? Well, he concludes his point by saying “Things that are too big to fail, we want to know everything about them, so we don’t have to deal with this in the future.”

“Things that are too big to fail,” eh? I feel a flashback coming on.
oh really, Google? Really?
You really want the government and the American public to know everything about businesses that are “too big to fail”? Really?

After the Yahoo deal was dragged out for months and finally killed over the DoJ’s scrutiny, after Google is pretty much one deal away from being sued as a monopoly and broken up, are you really advocating increased governmental involvement and oversight for large businesses? Really?

When the BBC calls you a “captain of industry,” you’re really going to call out other companies for being “too big”? Really, Schmidt?!

Valleywag asks the biggest question here: “Is Google too big to fail?” And if so, what exactly is Schmidt proposing the government do? (VW jumps to say that Schmidt proposed breaking up banks, and Google might get the same treatment, but I just don’t see that in the BBC interview, which they have video of on VW.)

What do you think? Is Google too big to fail? Should they start cowering in fear of a summons daily? Or has the recent recession proved that, although Google’s big, they’re not the kind of business we need to fear?

  • I think Google is great! I love their search; I love their email; I love their feed reader; I love their blog platform; I love their analytics. Go Google!


    Nate @ Debt-free Scholar’s last blog post..5 Ways to Waste Study Time

  • Oh Google.

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  • “Google is pretty much one deal away from being sued as a monopoly and broken up….”

    The U.S. government doesn’t break up companies simply for being monopolies… at least not since Standard Oil and the failed pursuit of Alcoa. With each break-up since, based upon anti-competitive conduct as opposed to the existence of a monopoly of itself, the government has grown more hesitant about breaking up large companies. (The last big example was AT&T.) As the Microsoft antitrust litigation indicates, even when a monopoly engages in pretty egregious anti-competitive behavior the government and courts tend to ultimately decide against breaking them up.

    Aaron’s last blog post..So Is It “Really” Salary?

  • @Aaron—that’s not what the Department of Justice said last year (in the article linked to in that line). They were literally three hours from filing antitrust charges to block the deal with Yahoo, according to the lawyer who would have been lead counsel for the government.

  • There’s a huge difference between initiating a case to block a deal the Justice Department deems anticompetitive and breaking up a company.

    Aaron’s last blog post..So Is It “Really” Salary?

  • @Aaron – well given the AIG insanity, and the fact that they ARE breaking up (something they would NOT have done without the fed poking them in the side), the landscape is changing once again. It may not be the same situation of course, because Google isn’t yet in collapse mode, which may be the only reason to push for break-up.

    Yet how big is too big really is the question, and how transparent is clearly an appropriate question to be asking.

    Except with Congress being more bluster and BS than honesty, I can’t comprehend them passing any significant transparency legislation any time soon…

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  • I agree with you Jordan. Its not always good for small players to get dominated by giants like Google or Yahoo. However, is it possible for us to stop the monopoly? Also, any company can win or any can fail. It is bigger companies that seems failing nowadays and not the small ones. Google definitely is no exception from the scenario. Anything can happen in the new era of economy. Let us hope for the best and be positive about the outcome of changes to the global economy.

  • I do think we should fear any massive company, but as far as I’m concerned, whilst Google is giving us great tools like their analytics, great search and pretty much everything else, I’m happy with them. If they drop off their quality I’d be very worried, and look elsewhere for such services.

  • John R.

    I think Google is great! I love their search; I love their email; I love their feed reader; I love their blog platform; I love their analytics. Go Google!

    Yeeee-haaaah! We of the never-learning humanity LOVE the Big Ones, LOVE them, Credit them with all goodness and innovation and well-beingness and light ! YES — Go Google go! Go! GO! … what are you, oh, tha–what hey! HEY! Where are you– That’s my — NOOOOOOOOOOO $$%^&*%^&*(

    x x

  • I think he means big in more relative terms, i guess he means big in how important or how bad we may be affected by them. The financial industry needs more regulation, thats it, not big companies. If Google goes kaboom, someone else takes over, some people lose their stock money, the world keeps rolling. What about Microsoft, same deal.. mcdonalds? same… Its true he didnt specify, but its also true this article is trying to stir things up a bit

  • I agree with Alex. Google is big, but not big in a “too big to fail” sense. Companies like AIG, GM, and major banks that are receiving federal money are “too big to fail” because if they go down, so do Joe 6-pack’s retirement funds, job, and mortgage. If Google disappears or “fails” we all switch to a different search engine and get on with our lives.

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  • On one hand I don’t think Google should have a monopoly on search engine traffic, however on the other hand there interface seems to bee the easiest to use. Further more once I figured how to put things in brackets I can usually find what I am looking for with in the first 3 results. I haven’t found this satisfaction on any other search engine yet.

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