The Digital Corporate State


If you want to watch some wealthy companies finding it profitable to duke it out in Washington instead of the marketplace, read Wired's report on Google's battles with its rivals. This passage is particularly telling:

Last spring, Microsoft supported bills in the New York and Connecticut legislatures to impose strict regulations on businesses that gather personal information online for marketing purposes. The bills would hurt Microsoft, too, given that it also wants to sell advertisements based on customer behavior. But the self-inflicted wound may be worth it for the damage it causes Google.

And then there's this quiet comment, about Microsoft's successful use of the Justice Department to block an ad deal between Google and Yahoo:

Publicly, Google remained upbeat after the arrangement fell apart. Lobbyists for the company maintained that even in failure they had kept Yahoo out of the hands of Microsoft for at least six months, perhaps permanently. And if Microsoft eventually tries to snap up Yahoo, Google can respond with the same kind of antitrust arguments that were deployed against it.