Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Now what did I say about Cyberutopians in my blog post here on 17th or May, 2015?

Just to recap, back in the 1990s, starry eyed Cyberutopians touted the claim that the Internet would enable ordinary folks like you, me and a galaxy of startup companies to "challenge and defeat the power of governments and the dominance of monopolies" in "David versus Goliath" fashion.

They claimed that the Internet would create a level playing field where a small Internet business anywhere would have an equal presence in Cyberspace as the largest corporate and multinational giants.

Click to read My earlier post

Around 1995 I interviewed a starry-eyed Malaysian Cyberutopian resident in Perth, Australia who gave me a press release quoting a fellow starry-eyed Cyberutopian who waxed ecstatic about how the Internet "would enable the best people to flee corporations for free agency in Cyberspace", leaving corporations with the mediocre staff, ultimately resulting in their downfall.

Dunno what that guy was smoking but it must have been pretty strong. Anyway, that's the kind of crap (or "scheiss") I have repeatedly heard so many times before.

Well today, about 20 years later, it has turned out that some of those Internet startups have metamorphosised into giant Internet corporations upon which many Internet startups and small businesses are dependent upon for their survival and it is a handful of these new global giants who are causing governments to be concerned over their monopoly power as revealed by the Reuters report below as carried by The Star.


German vice chancellor worried about market power of Internet giants

BERLIN: German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said he was worried the market power of firms like Google was hurting competition on the Internet.

Gabriel, who is also economy minister, has repeatedly voiced concern about the dominance of US software companies and last year suggested firms like Google should be broken up if they abuse dominant market positions.

"How can it be that in order to have Google's (mobile operating system) Android you need to pre-install Google Search, Google Browser, Google Mail, Google You-Tube and its app store on the device?" Gabriel said at an event in Berlin.

He welcomed a decision by the European Commission in April to launch an antitrust investigation into Google's Android system over concerns anti-competitive constraints imposed by the company were hampering markets.

Gabriel said agreements needed to be reviewed to ensure that customers were not being barred from using competing browsers and web services and locked into "Google Internet".

Market power should not just refer to individual services but should also be assessed according to the value chain on the Internet, he added.

In Germany, fears of digital domination by firms like Google are linked with wider concerns of US cyber espionage since the revelations in 2013 of mass US surveillance on German citizens.

A report published on Monday by the Monopolies Commission, which advises the government, advised against the need for special regulation regarding the provision of Internet search and instead recommended adjusting existing competition law. — Reuters


The German Vice Chancellor's statement above brings to mind how people used to accuse Microsoft of abuse of its dominant market power with its Windows operating system and its Internet Explorer Web browser on desktop PCs but today Google holds much more dominance on Android phones and tablets and on the Internet as well, such as this free Blogger blog site which is provided by Google.

Information is power those who own and control the gateways to information have ultimate power to shape our understanding and perception of our world.

Anyway, chic and trendy as they were, I never bought into those Cyberutopian myths and illusions.


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