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Doug's Mailbag: Jobs vs. Google, More

Steve Jobs recently had some pretty scathing things to say about Google for entering the smartphone market (and challenging the iPhone). Readers react with some strong words of their own:

Jobs is scared and whining like a little baby. Competition is always good for the public. No, it may not be good for Apple, but I don't care about Apple. The consumer who doesn't drink the Kool-Aid is concerned about themselves, not Apple.

So it's OK if Apple goes into the phone market but not Google? Apple is just afraid it will no longer be able to gouge the public. Let the best balance between cost vs. features win! Game on!

To be fair, it sounds like he was talking to Apple corporate, not the public. He's rallying the troops, pointing out that Google is going after Apple's market share.

Jobs is not only irritated, but he is scared. Those comments are a clear sign of panic. Microsoft should feel that way, too, but it has not shown it as much.

Motorola could have said the same to Jobs about the cell phone business a couple of years ago. Open markets make everyone better, including Apple. Apps, search, integrated devices are the begining of the story not the end.

I think the issue is that Google has stated its "Do no evil" policy, whereas other companies have not. Google is just another big company that does the same evil as others.

Where does Steve Jobs get any moral authority? He creates closed, proprietary systems, nice as they may be. He is only interested in money, and if anyone else makes money or competes with him, then they are evil (see: Microsoft, Google). Great design and marketing are not moral attributes, and it is quite strange to me that anyone would suggest that they are.

You said, "His [Jobs'] products are almost always closed and expensive." Not at all like Microsoft, then...

Concerns have been growing about Google's online advertising share, but Earl wonders whether there's any point in breaking up such tech monopolies:

Yes, Google is a monopoly and something should be done about it. Microsoft is also a monopoly, and Apple's business practices are an example of restraint of trade. We probably should do something about it -- but because of the technology involved, we may not be able to. What would happen if Google, Microsoft or Intel closed up? Would IT survive? Would we be forced to bail them out?

In the late 1960s or early 1970s, Thom McAn wanted to merge with Kinney Shoes. The Justice Department would not allow it because their combined 7 percent market control would destroy competition. At the same time, there was no interstate banking except for Oregon and California. Since then, we let banks get too large to fail and deregulated the kinds of investments they could make. We let their insurer, AIG, become a monopoly. As a result, we had this predictable financial crisis. (Predictable because we had financial crises every 10 to 15 years from 1789 through 1929. Then we instituted regulations and the crises stopped until 1982 when we deregulated. The crises began with the Lincoln S&L scandal and continue through today. Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told Congress that a financial crisis is something that happens every five to seven years.)

So, yes, we should break up those IT monopolies. But I don't think we can.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 02/05/2010 at 1:17 PM


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