In the 1990s, Google President Eric Schmidt was working for Sun Microsystems and was part of a small but vocal group of techies who helped the federal government put the antitrust reins on Microsoft. Now it's Google that's getting "too big for its britches," and the monopoly drums are beating once again. And who is Google blaming for conducting the rhythm? We'll give you one guess.
The constraints imposed on Microsoft in that case helped clear the way for Google's rise to rule the Web. Now--as Google spreads its tentacles into everything from mobile phones to digital online libraries to green energy--some of Microsoft's allies are saying it's time for the search giant to get its comeuppance.
Lately the main Google/Microsoft dust-up has centered around accusations from Google that Microsoft's Bing.com is stealing its search results. It's an interesting allegation, but infinitely smaller potatoes than any talk of Google forming into a monopoly could be.
One of the biggest complaints being levied at Google is that it manipulates its search-engine results to give better placing to its own products. Companies who get traffic from Google (basically every company with a website) are caught between wanting to loudly complain and being worried that doing so will earn them the ire of the Google overlords and place their products even further down on search results.
To be sure, most of the folks interviewed by POLITICO who are calling for the breakup of Google are either competitors or being paid by competitors. But a similar dynamic was present before Bill Gates and Co. were hauled in front of Congress to answer for illegal growth and business-choking tactics. If an antitrust case is filed, however, it's unlikely that Schmidt could repeat the kind of marathon denial testimony that Gates delivered in 1998.