Google is losing allies across the political spectrum

Whenever antitrust talk starts around a company, it always brings to my mind thoughts of the breakup of the Bell system. There are probably other remedies available to the FTC, but what would a split Google even look like?


They’d probably get to keep search, but I imagine we could see a number of splits that could be very painful:

Doubleclick de-merged or even split into several competing businesses for internet ads.

Split search from the infrastructure company, and allow multiple “search” companies to use the same underlying hardware ( a bit like the split between BT and openreach)

Although I get what you mean- a lot of what google does works because of network effects- being big allows it to keep on being big, and splitting out things like mail or Youtube doesn’t make sense, because they don’t make money as stand alone companies, but when plugged into the huge google data ecosystem, they’re viable.


It makes me think of Microsoft. It’ll get tied up with lawyers for so long that when a result finally happens it’ll be largely irrelevant.


Well, even Bell’s split was largely irrelevant thanks to all of the mergers and company buying that immediately followed it. Our corporatocracy in action. The Google children companies will just see everything eaten up by GOOd Guy and it’ll be like nothing happened.

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I see two ways: A-M as one company and N-Z as the other.

Or perhaps vowels and consonants. Everyone knows vowels are worth more so the relative value of each company should balance out. We will leave Y to the lawyers.


I don’t see any huge company being split up for antitrust reasons anytime soon - especially multinationals. Bigger is better!!! Just not for us.


I don’t think Doubleclick amounts to more than the tiniest fraction of AdWords/AdSense revenue. Google is basically:

  1. ads
  2. products serving ads
  3. other things that might pay off some day, just in case ads ever stops paying the bills

It’s hard to imagine a breakup that leaves any of the segments individually viable. Apple, Facebook, and Amazon would have a field day gobbling up the remnants though.

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I actually think that Alphabet might have been set up specifically so that if an antitrust breakup occurs, Google Search gets to keep its maiden name after the divorce.


and especially not because these both lead straight back to search.

content id is an attempt to identify unique video - primarily for monetization and copyright; but also because there’s at least as much information in video as in books ( even if not exactly a thousand words per frame. )

similarly, things like gmail or say google voice is largely an attempt to understand both individuals and groups of people. tagging you for ads, “understanding” your connections between other people, but also powering things like google voice search; or improving the ability to understand text-based question and reply.

their “vertical integration” is incredibly powerful. while amazon may become a trillion dollar company before alphabet, my bet is still on google to accidentally release skynet and/or trigger the information singularity.

all that said: it would be amazing if the input and outputs of google search were made its own commodity with bonus points for public infrastructure. it just seems incredibly unlikely.

as it stands for apple, so far as i understand, all of the apple ip is owned by a company on the island of jersey. i’d imagine similar is true for alphabet.

i don’t see how the us government would have any hope of breaking up a company that can shift ip and profits anywhere across the globe at will.

it’s different for att / time warner only because their products involve tangible infrastructure… id guess that if the us gov wanted to break up alphabet, their best bet would be the part of the company owning all the shipping containers for their server nodes.

go after anything that can’t be moved.