What if Google, the master of the cloud computing universe and the Internet's information monopolist, were to buy Intel, Apple, or IBM? Would we want the company that controls information outside of our computers all along the Internet to also have control over a principal computer hardware maker and its patents?
Anti-trust regulators looking at Google's proposed takeover of Motorola Mobility might ask themselves the same type of question. Do you want the mobile phone information monopolist (through its Android operating system and apps) to own a principle mobile manufacturer and its patent technology?
To be sure, monopolies look different in the Internet age. But what Google has over all of us is the world's largest repository of private information ever assembled because it tracks every web site we visit and every search we make. Mobile technology allows Google to follow our physical movements through Android, Maps and Latitude, as well as our mobile behavior, images we compile on our mobile phone, and soon the faces of people we photograph.
Should an information monopolist like Google have the power to dominate cell phone manufacturing and control patents that could require mobile phones to use its information-tracking Android operations and applications? The debate has just begun.
Jamie Court is the president and CEO of Consumer Watchdog.