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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Time to Loosen Google's Grip?


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In case you hadn't noticed, Google isn't just a Web search company any longer. In addition to online advertising, it's moving into operating system and application software, mobile telephone software, e-mail, Web browsers, maps, and video aggregation. It's also in the process of assembling the world's biggest digital library of books and visual materials.

Google portrays each new line of business as a logical extension of its core mission to expand digital horizons in ways that allow people to use the Internet to improve their lives. It's a noble goal, and Google does it very well—so well, in fact, that it boasts a market value of $190.2 billion, a profit margin of 30 percent, and cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet worth $33 billion.

The question now is how much bigger and more dominant we want this innovative and ambitious company to become. Google has already achieved a near-monopoly in Web search and search advertising, and has cleverly used that monopoly and the profits it generates to achieve dominant positions in adjacent or complementary markets.

From The Washington Post
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