You know how, when you search Google for some kind of product, the top of the results page displays a row of ad boxes for the product? That’s called Google Shopping, and it just cost the company $2.7 billion in fines from the European Union. Regulators there charge that Google has favored its own shopping search tool at the expense of competitors’ offerings (The New York Times).
That penalty amount is way higher than experts expected, and it holds dark omens for Google. It’s not that the large penalty is itself a serious problem for the wealthy company; it earned twice that amount in the first quarter of this year alone.
When does business-as-usual stop being business as usual? For tech leaders joining a high-profile White House summit later this month, that breaking point seems to lie on an infinitely receding horizon.
On June 19, the American Technology Council, led by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, will hold its first meeting. Attendees will include the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM. Alphabet/Google will send its executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. Facebook has been invited, too, but hasn’t yet responded (Bloomberg).
News of the big AT&T/Time Warner deal over the weekend inspired some great big deja vu-infused yawns around here. Didn’t we try this one back in 2000? Isn’t it just a replay of Comcast/NBC Universal? Are we really supposed to care?
The mating dances of large media corporations get outsize coverage partly because large media corporations employ most of the people who write about large media corporations. Mostly, these dinosaur recombination deals are all about restructuring debt and quests for elusive “synergies” that prove mythical.