Friday, March 30, 2007

Google: Microsoft repeat

A friend of mine who went to work at Microsoft in 2001 told me that the company was in a pretty confused state at the time, in no small part due to the anti-trust case against it by the government. Microsoft was being extra-careful about the smallest things and thus making the most stupid product decisions. For example, there was some convoluted logic around why Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger had to be kept separate, even though they were pretty much the same application. The company had received so much bad press and the fear of government regulation and company breakup was so palpable, that they had started to fear their own shadow. It seems, in retrospect, that the anti-trust case was the beginning of the end of the Microsoft dominance of the software industry.

The YouTube legal woes could turn into something similar for Google. While Mark Cuban and Cringely aren't quite the same as David Boies, it does appear like YouTube is on the wrong side of the law as it currently stands. If such a case goes to court, and if Google gets even the slightest bit of criticism from the courts, the following could happen:

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