Time for the government to smack Google?
May 01, 2007
And so it begins: one of the first of what will be many, many claims that Google is becoming too big and too powerful and that as with Microsoft, the Government Should Do Something.
This piece concludes that "There may never have been a Google without the government's antitrust suit that prevented Microsoft from crushing upstart rivals". Except insofar as the antitrust case soaked up huge amounts of time and resources Microsoft could have spent better trying to compete with Google, this proposition is highly suspect. Microsoft was beaten on the merits because it misunderstood what people wanted from a search engine, as Bill Gates admitted:
Asked whether Microsoft missed the boat in the field of search technology, Mr Gates admitted that he had to take the blame for losing out to Google.
"We took an approach that I now realise was wrong," he said.
"Our strategy was to do a good job on the 80% of common queries and ignore the other stuff."
Mr Gates claimed that Microsoft was better on the 80% of common queries, although Google was "pretty good" as well.
"But that's not what counts. It's the remaining 20% that counts . . . because that's where the quality perception is."