Google’s unprecedented Obama Administration influence and its self-serving anti-employment, anti-property, and pro-regulatory policy agenda, are on a collision course with the job-creating, pro-property, deregulatory Trump Administration growth agenda.
Keep watch to see who adapts to whom and how.
I. Google’s Unprecedented Lobbying Influence
Current Alphabet-Google Chairman Eric Schmidt enjoys the privilege of being the only corporate leader of a publicly-traded company on the President’s nineteen member Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Coincidentally, former Google Senior Engineer from 2006-2013, Mikey Dickerson, is Deputy U.S. Chief Information Officer and Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, a new organization and position.
Renata Hesse, Google’s former outside antitrust defense counsel, is coincidentally now Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, who coincidentally is the lead liaison with EU antitrust authorities concerning the EU’s three pending monopolization cases against Google.
Former Google Deputy General Counsel and head of patents and patent strategy from 2003-2012, Michelle Lee, is coincidentally now Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, who coincidentally joined the USPTO just when Google faced several new serious patent lawsuits.
And coincidentally yet again, the U.S. Register of Copyright, Maria Pallante, just got fired coincidentally after she disagreed with Renata Hesse and Google’s position on a music copyright consent decree and with the FCC-Google position that FCC authority should supersede copyright in the FCC’s Set-Top Box rulemaking.
Coincidentally, Google employees visited the Obama White House 427 times per White House Logs including 128 visits coincidentally by Google’s lobbyist Joanna Shelton alone, many more times than any other special interest.
And a final coincidence, Google also has generated the most “revolving door” moves of any company with this Administration with 251 Google employees either entering the government or government employees joining Google, according to the Google Transparency Project.
II. How Google Is Anti-Employment
Concerning autonomous vehicle innovation, Google’s well-known, unique vision is to as quickly as possible eliminate the steering wheel, accelerator and brake in all vehicles.
That’s because Google’s data posits that human drivers are the cause of most all traffic accidents and that Google’s human-coded algorithms can drive vehicles more safely than human drivers can, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives every year.
The profoundly anti-employment side of this Google approach is Google’s unique no-human-driver-allowed-in-the-vehicle vision for “the future of work.”
Effectively Google has concluded that the 15-20 million Americans, or the 10+% of the American workforce who drive vehicles for a living, are the problem, not the solution, for a growing and working U.S. economy.
While innovation that makes vehicles more autonomous and safer is important progress, only Google’s unique ambition for 10X “moon-shot” innovation forgets that “good” innovation is about making people more efficient and productive overall, not about just eliminating inefficient people as disposables.
Google’s dominance of Federal policy making on autonomous vehicles, and its success in convincing policymakers that people are the auto-safety problem that needs to be solved by totally eliminating human drivers long term — is well-known.
Google has also positioned itself as the likely leader in mass automation of many other American jobs.
After Google bought its eighth robotics company in six months in 2013, the New York Times explained that Google’s robotics acquisition spree is “the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.”
A third swath of American jobs to which Google’s monopoly-search-ad business model is uniquely hostile are America’s intellectual-property-intensive jobs — that according to the Commerce Department comprise 45.5 million, or 30%, of jobs in the U.S. economy that generate $6.6 trillion in U.S. GDP, or 38%, of the U.S. economy.
(The next part of this analysis will summarize Google’s uniquely severe disrespect for the IP rights of their competitors and suppliers.)
In short, no other company embraces such an inherently employment-hostile business model and commercial vision for “the future of work,” and that effectively presumes Google can capitalize all the benefits and socialize all the human costs of quickly automating as much as a third of the American workforce out of jobs in the next couple of decades.
Meet Google’s new forgotten American workers.
III. How Google Is Anti-Property (for others)
Google’s outsized role in pro-actively and aggressively devaluing competitors’ and suppliers’ IP can be expected to be particularly problematic with a strong pro-property-rights, economic-growth, and employment-focused Trump Administration and Republican Congress.
An all-Republican-Government can be expected to value, respect and defend the constitutional protection of intellectual property — copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets – because America’s economy and employment cannot grow faster and sustainably again without defensible ownership of America’s huge intellectual property value added in the economy, especially from foreign theft.
Intellectual property remains one of America’s greatest competitive advantages, and growth and employment engines.
President Elect Donald Trump became a multibillionaire via the value creation of ownership, where valuable real estate property was enhanced in value by the valuable “Trump” trademarked brand.
Interestingly, just this week, President Elect Trump won a ten-year trademark dispute in China over the trademarks for “Trump Tower” and “Trump Plaza.”
In stark contrast, Alphabet-Google CEO Larry Page’s signature uniqueness is Google’s consistent hostility to, and rejection of, the property-rights of others.
From the beginning, Google systematically operated as if it could freely take others’ proprietary trademarked, copyrighted, patented, and confidential information without the owners’ permission and then profit off it.
If anyone objected, Google made clear they would fight them in court all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary; and it has done this multiple times over the last 16 years.
Early on, Google assaulted trademark law by selling companies’ trademarks as keyword ads that perversely forced trademark owners to pay for unnecessary search ads to protect what they already lawfully-owned from competitors’ Google-enabled trademark abuse.
Google outlasted authors and publishers in court for several years over Google’s mass copying and commercial use of millions of copyrighted books without any permission or payment.
When every other company that used Java paid for a copyright license, in 2010 Google refused to pay one to Oracle for Android. That enabled Google to market Android as a free, “open,” and fast-growing mobile operating system that then became a monopoly charged with anti-competitive tying by EU antitrust authorities. Oracle is in year six of its Android IP infringement lawsuit against Google.
Before he passed away, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs famously threatened to “go thermonuclear” over Google-Android stealing of Apple’s patented iPhone features. Apparently Google placed its top patent expert Michelle Lee at the USPTO to effectively make go away this and other patent lawsuits.
It is no coincidence all these companies have sued Google for IP theft: Oracle, Getty, Yelp, Viacom, Apple, Microsoft, business directories, wire services, newspapers, broadcasters, movie studios, publishers, visual artists, software providers, photographers, artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and filmmakers.
Ask State Attorney Generals to what extent Google will fight those who challenge Google’s IP theft.
In 2014, Google won a Federal injunction that effectively prevented all State AGs from investigating Google for any alleged Google violation of State law for ~18 months until the State AGs won on appeal.
IV. How Google is Pro-Regulation
In the FCC Open Internet Order, Google won protection from Title II privacy and CALEA rules while gaining the “strongest possible net neutrality rules” on ISPs.
In the FCC Title II Privacy Order, Google won consumer-confusing, asymmetric consumer privacy rules that impede ISPs’ ability to compete with the two dominant online advertisers, Google and Facebook.
Google got the Executive Branch to change America’s spectrum auction policy to a spectrum sharing policy that conveniently selected Google to be the nation’s de facto spectrum access administrator.
Most controversial, was the Google-FCC AllVid/Set-Top Box rulemaking that attempted to force pay TV providers to make available for free to competitors their $200b worth of copyrighted video programming without permission, payment or sufficient copyright licensing protections.
No company has enjoyed more Federal Government influence, access, favors, and protection from Federal law enforcement, than Google has over the last four years.
And no company seeking influence with the President-Elect’s Transition and Administration has a more anti-employment, anti-property, and pro-regulatory policy agenda than Google.
Immovable object meets irresistible force.
Keep watch to see who adapts to whom and how.
Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration. He is President of Precursor LLC, an internetization consultancy for Fortune 500 companies, some of which are Google competitors, and Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests. He is also author of “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.” Cleland has testified before both the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google and also before the relevant House oversight subcommittee on Google’s privacy problems.