The Target Keeps Growing Larger

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-25 Print this article Print

5. Google as a content provider

Part of the debate in Google's recent privacy case in Italy revolves around whether the company is a content provider or a resource for Web users. Google contends that it's the latter. The Italian government argues the opposite. But the reality is, Google is offering mobile operating systems. It's an advertising juggernaut. It delivers Web-based services. It even operates a social network. Its search might still be a resource, but as a company, Google is much more.

6. Microsoft has been beaten up

Microsoft isn't as viable a target as it once was. As mentioned above, Microsoft's significance in the tech industry has been reduced somewhat. That's partly due to all the lawsuits the company has faced throughout the years. It seems regulators have targeted almost all of the problems they had with Microsoft. Now they're moving on to Google.

7. Privacy and Google

Privacy has been a constant concern with Google throughout the years. It's also a hot-button issue for world governments. Most recently, Google faced criticism over Google Buzz, its social network. Critics expressed concern that the social network shared users' most frequent contacts with friends by default, and friends were automatically added to the users' profiles. That's not an isolated incident for Google. And governments know it. Perhaps that's why the company's battle with Italy is so important to both sides.

8. The power of free

A major reason for Google's success is all of its free services. We can't discount that. Whereas consumers would need to save up to get some of Microsoft's products, accessing Google's services is as simple as starting up a browser and surfing to the desired offering. All the while, Google is capitalizing on each of those users. By becoming the go-to freebie-offering company on the Web, Google has built a hugely influential enterprise, and some find that level of success troubling.

9. The halo effect

Google's dominance begins with search. Thanks to the usability of its search service, users are becoming more and more willing to use other Google services. That's cause for alarm for many government regulators. By building upon search, Google can use all of its many services to further dominate the advertising market. And by dominating the advertising market, Google could eventually wield even greater control over the Internet. It's that's scary.

10. It's about money

In the end, legal issues come down to money. Government regulators don't usually target weak companies that have minimal market impact. In most cases, they target companies that are generating massive amounts of revenue and have little fear of competition. Google is such a company.

Of course, whether or not lawsuits will slow Google down is up for debate. But as the company continues to generate more and more revenue through its services, the target on its back will grow much larger.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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