Some of you may be aware that Google and Microsoft don’t like each other (which probably explains why Eric Schmidt didn’t include Microsoft in his gift to antitrust regulators–the Gang of Four cartel interview). They have been involved in some extensive wrangling for some time now. But check this out: It seems that Google is purposely blocking the YouTube App on the Windows Phone, Microsoft’s smartphone.
Yes, when artists post your videos on YouTube, Google uses access to all of our videos through the YouTube app as a stick to beat up on competitors for Android–from which we do not benefit at all. (Granted there’s an iOS YouTube app, but Google also gets to be the default search setting on iPhones–which I’m sure they don’t get for free. There’d also be a revolt if artists couldn’t get their own videos on artist-friendly Apple products.)
Bear in mind that Google has essentially created YouTube as a monopoly in video search (mostly using music and movies):
Artists need to be particularly concerned about inadvertently creating monopoly-like companies that leverage our music to their own benefit. We’ve had lots of experience with what happens to our take home pay when in practice you end up with “one of everything”. MTV? Clear Channel? Live Nation? Pandora? and now YouTube? We don’t need to make the Anti-Artist, Wifi-spying, data gobbling, privacy sucking Google any more powerful. It’s particularly ironic that back in the day Microsoft was prosecuted for using similar tactics with Internet Explorer while Google gets away with it with Android (as well as search, YouTube, maps, Safari shenanigans…shall I continue?) Artists should also note that Microsoft has a long history of respecting artists’ rights and paying us fairly. Xbox music is one of the highest paying music services per stream on my statements.
Of course, Google will come up with the usual Google-de-goop, slow no answers to explain themselves–we know all about that since Google got over 200 million take down notices for links to infringing sites in search last year alone. You would think that after telling someone 200 million times there’s something wrong with their product, they’d get it? Not Google.
Here’ another beef on Google’s leveraging our music so that YouTube can’t be played on a whole class of smartphones: We aren’t getting paid the YouTube crap royalty on those phones. Not because of anything we did, but because Google wants to screw a competitor! I don’t recall ever telling Google they could withhold my music on YouTube to line their own pockets–maybe that’s what Google’s famous “permissionless innovation” looks like.
Now I’m not a lawyer but I think I understand some of the basic purposes of anti-trust law. It isn’t fair to use your dominance in one market (online video search/YouTube) to leverage your dominance in another market (Android OS). Isn’t this what Google is doing by blocking YouTube on the Windows phones? Why does Google get away with this kind of blatantly anti-competitive BS? Is it their political connections? Is it those frequent dinners at The White House? Or we could call it what it really looks like: Political Corruption and Crony Capitalism.