Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Google Walks a Mile in Microsoft's Shoes

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Is Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) a monopolist? TradeComet says it is, and wants its day in court to prove it. Welcome to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) world, Larry and Sergey. Coffee and bagels are next door. Bill will be with you in a moment.

The soon-to-not-be-so-secret sauce?
TradeComet is a New York-based holding company whose subsidiaries include SourceTool, a "global business-to-business (B2B) search engine" for buyers of industrial products, according to a company press release. Executives there accuse Google of killing SourceTool by raising prices for critical traffic-building services a hundredfold.

"With no notice, Google changed from cheerleader to tyrant when it realized we were a competitive threat," CEO Dan Savage said in a statement, positioning his company as if it were on track to be the next (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) -- before Google squashed its hopes, that is.

To be fair, these are serious accusations that deserve a fair hearing. And while I doubt that SourceTool was ever a competitive threat to Google, its website is comprehensive -- it's just not a search engine. Rather, it's a directory, much more like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) was in its early days.

Too bad that doesn't matter. Thanks to this suit, investors and regulators are now faced with a very troubling question: Can Google do whatever it wants with its PageRank search algorithm, even if its actions harm businesses that depend on it for traffic?


There's no good answer here if you're an investor. Say yes, and Google gets to be this decade's Microsoft, a search engine that laughs at its so-called competition, crushes upstarts, and, ultimately, suffers a crippling regulatory probe.

Say no, and Google risks becoming a government lapdog, a lame-duck researcher slouching toward obscurity a la Xerox PARC or Bell Labs. Both still employ some of world's brightest minds but they're also no longer the unparalleled source of innovation they once were.

Thanks, TradeComet. Thanks a lot.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness: and Google are Rule Breakers recommendations. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Try either of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is searching for a brand-new area rug for its office. Carpet is so yesterday.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 833864, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 4:59:36 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 7 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,223.03 77.32 0.43%
S&P 500 2,151.33 10.17 0.47%
NASD 5,309.83 52.43 1.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/24/2016 4:00 PM
GOOGL $835.74 Up +11.68 +1.42%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
BIDU $180.86 Up +4.10 +2.32%
Baidu CAPS Rating: *****
MSFT $61.00 Up +1.34 +2.25%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
YHOO $42.59 Up +0.42 +1.00%
Yahoo CAPS Rating: **