Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Could nationalism limit Google's ambitions?

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 15, 2006

It was not ethical for Microsoft to drive out companies in its adjacent businesses. Yet time and time again, Microsoft moved into markets which had established companies in them and they took over those markets leveraging its dominant position in PC operating systems.

Apart from the conviction on illegal anti-trust charges, there seems little to distinguish MSFT and GOOG business strategies. And that is something that Google should be careful about.

In the 1980s, the US semiconductor industry managed to persuade the US government to make it illegal for foreign companies to sell memory chips below their cost of manufacture. It was called "dumping" and it was a practice that harmed the chip industry, led to lost jobs and threatened the future of many semiconductor companies.

Google is "dumping" lots of online products onto global markets. What is to stop say, China or France, from blocking Google's online services because they are being "dumped" onto their markets? I'm sure it wouldn't take much to prove that Google's actions are harming some small Chinese or French competitors.

And it is dead easy to block data packets. I can't see any nation allowing large foreign online companies to dominate the online worlds of their domestic commercial sectors. Old-fashioned nationalism comes in handy sometimes. And I predict that Google's limitless business plan will run into limits far sooner than it expects.
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More on this subject on Tuesday.

[This is an experimental publishing format, a distributed column across different web sites. The first part is here. The second part is here. The first part leads you through all three sections.]

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