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Thursday, November 27, 2014 11:50 AM

"Neutrality" Gone Mad: Should GM Have to Promote Toyota?

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The EU's attempt to breakup Google gets more absurd by the day. I wrote about this just yesterday in Google vs. Sun vs. France: Too Big, Too Powerful, Too Free.

I have a few more EU proposals regarding Google worth discussing, but first I have a few questions:

In the name of neutrality...

  • Should GM have to promote Toyota?
  • Should Target have to promote WalMart?
  • Should Pepsi have to promote Coke?

The idea sounds blatantly absurd, because it is.

Yet EU nannycrats Demand Neutrality From Google.
Google was under fire on two fronts in Europe on Wednesday as privacy watchdogs told it to apply the “right to be forgotten” globally and German ministers pushed for laws to make its search engine a “neutral platform”.

The developments crown a difficult week for the US technology group, which has already seen Capitol Hill hit out at a European parliament resolution advocating Google’s possible break-up. The non-binding motion is expected to be passed on Thursday

The 11-page paper, whose lead signatory is the German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel, argues it may be necessary to introduce “platform neutrality” to tackle abuses of dominance, either through tough antitrust enforcement or new legislation.

There is mounting unease in Washington that Google is being targeted for political reasons, in part to protect Germany’s corporate champions in media and telecoms. A host of senior politicians – including the chairs of two House and one Senate committee – spoke out on Tuesday against the European parliament resolution and warned of negative consequences for trade and investment.

The broad-ranging German position paper – dated November 13 and co-signed by interior minister Thomas de Maizière, justice minister Heiko Maas and the minister for digital infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt – underlines the extent to which Germany is driving Europe’s efforts to constrain Google’s power.

The German ministers urge Brussels to use the lure of Europe’s domestic market and its political power to “stand up to global actors”. The ministers write that a joint Franco-German working group has developed proposals aimed at regulating digital platforms that dominate the market.

These measures include a requirement to display commercial offers from competitors without charge, and a guarantee of access to content without discrimination.
Rotation Mechanism

Also consider this nonsensical Google Breakup Proposal from Spanish and German MPs.

German MEP Andreas Schwab and Spanish MEP Ramon Tremosa called for "a rotation mechanism, which displays Google’s commercial services and their competitors in the same location and with the same prominence on the search results page. This move, its proponents say, would be close to the choice of browsers offered to consumers following the Microsoft investigation."

This is the kind of nonsense we expect from France and Spain. But Germany?

Why Stop There?

Why stop with internet services?

In the name of "neutrality", why shouldn't Mercedes be forced to offer free advertising to Fiat and GM. On a "rotation mechanism", why shouldn't Tiger Woods have to change his hat from Nike to Callaway?

By the way, I have already been impacted by such nonsense. I wrote about it in 2012, in Country Specific Blog Censorship by Google; Twitter Employs Censorship as Well; Echo Comments Not Working on Redirects

I do not have just one blog. I have many mirror copies. In the US my blog is globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com. In New Zealand it's http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.co.nz. Occasionally I get asked why comments do not always display in other countries. It has to do with weird suffixes. Readers in other countries can try surfing my original blog URL by appending /ncr (No Country Redirect) as follows: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/ncr

That Google has to do this is of course silly, but it has to do with country specific censorship. Hmm... are all my criticisms of France filtered out?

Neutrality Solution

The EU nannycrats have gone mad and I have just the solution.

The EU is too big, too powerful, and too unwieldy. Instead of breaking up Google, let's unbundle the EU.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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