Google's violations of antitrust law were serious.
First, its use of patents obtained with Motorola Mobility was abusive. The Motorola patents dealt with essential mobile phone functions, licensed as part of standards under Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory, or FRAND, terms.
Now, in courts around the world, the company has been demanding new, bigger royalties for these patents, trying to eliminate liability for its own violations of Apple's
Second, more important, its search results seem to be failing to find competitors' products of long-standing and finding, instead, newly created Google products.
Gary Reback, a noted anti-trust lawyer
This is the same thing that got Microsoft
Local governments would be allowed to look at all data packets entering or leaving their citizens' devices, control what was said, and control what was read within their borders.
It's not like this isn't already happening, to an extent, but under this proposal it would all be sanctioned through a global entity. It would be legitimate under international law, and all efforts to get around such blocks would become illegal. Governments would control the routing of packets, and all defiance of local will would supposedly cease.
The US and European Union led a successful effort to get this treaty language withdrawn, as
I think American policymakers recognized, somewhere in this fight, that a powerful private company like Google is their best long-term defense in this coming global battle over the Internet.
Sure, China has managed to "replace" Google and other western Internet companies inside its borders, but only to an extent. Getting over the "great firewall" is a key act of defiance inside China, and a fairly common one. Google has the technical weapons and the financial strength to keep enabling that in ways even western governments can't.
So there's a sort of quid pro quo developing. In exchange for using its technical and financial might on behalf of western standards it believes in, Google is being left alone in the name of a free Internet. Whether Google is "evil" or not is less the question than the fact that Google, the Internet's most powerful player, is American.
This isn't all good news. Local governments around the world are going to increase their pressure for taxes, for censorship, and local as opposed to global control of the resource. Google will keep having to balance its own interests against those of local government critics -- its recent move to avoid obscenity in image search,
But as long as western governments see Google as being on their side, they will tread lightly.
At the time of publication, the author had positions in MSFT and GOOG.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage