Structural Regulation and the Internet

03Oct11

Google has been the latest target of several Federal investigations in regards to whether or not they are competing as a monopoly with Internet search. Last week, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt faced a Senate hearing in which he was grilled over how the company operates its algorithm but also over the frequent acquisitions they make across the Internet spectrum, essentially buying their way into a new area of interest. For example, the company recently purchased ITA Software, the company behind web-based flight tracking and sales websites such as Kayak, Orbitz, and Bing Travel (Gaylord, 2011). Another recent addition to the company was Motorola Mobility, which was purchased for $12.5 billion this summer.

In Chapter 6, Napoli discusses the two predominant forms of media regulation in the US: structural (e.g. ownership) and behavioral (e.g. content). As technology companies continue to swell in both size and power, it will be interesting to see how governments react to the consolidation and market power companies such as Google currently have and continue to increase on the Internet in addition to what approach they will take in regards to the structural regulation of them. So far, the Justice Department and FTC have continually allowed these acquisitions to pass with certain concessions made by the purchaser. Google’s response to concerns over a monopoly is that the Internet is open and free, and users are free to choose another option.

-Chris G

Carlson, N. (2011, September 28). Larry Page Outlines His Plan And Vision For Google. Business Insider. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.businessinsider.com/larry-page-outlines-his-plan-and-vision-for-google-2011-9

Gaylord, C. (2011, September 27). The five biggest companies that Google has gobbled. The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2011/0927/The-five-biggest-companies-that-Google-has-gobbled

Li, S. (n.d.). Justice Department OKs Google’s $700-million ITA Software purchase – latimes.com. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/04/google-ita-travel-software.html

Miller, C. (2011, September 27). Google’s Biggest Threat Is Google – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/googles-biggest-threat-is-google/

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