Don't like Chrome? Pick up Firefox, it's quick and easy to change. And it's the best product it's probably ever been.
Don't like Google search? There's Bing, there's DuckDuckGo and more.
Don't like Facebook? Try any of the bajillion other social networks. Hell, quite social networks and call your grandma instead. It's better for ya.
Antitrust isn't supposed to be a bludgeon to knock whoever is on top off the top. It's supposed to be a tool to break open markets where companies have successfully closed off competition and made it impossible for opponents to succeed. I just don't see that in the web right now. There is no conceivable reason Facebook couldn't be replaced and there's ample research showing that young people are already making that transition to other platforms.
Meanwhile, industries like internet service, cellular and in some places water provision, leave consumers with essentially no alternative and no choice. I see this wave of anti-web 2.0 furvor as people championing a good cause, antitrust, in utterly the wrong place for our time.
The article explains how Google through Chrome's dominance is doing and did exactly this via webstandards for DRM despite most of chrome being completely open-source via chromium.
Because Chrome has such a large footprint, it become much easier for google to make a non-standard feature become part of the standard. As long as there is a thoroughly unencumbered but still practically reasonable way to implement that standard everything is great.
But that falls apart for the DRM that enables browsers to play video files. Sure, google is willing to license that code to you, but that means you have to pay or play by their rules in order to keep being able to make a competing browser. And no, you can't just make your own version of the DRM: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/29/hoarding-software-freedom....
That's bad enough for hampering the ability for people to switch products, because it means that people can't make a practical chrome competitor without becoming a google vassal, which defeats many of their reasons to making a competing browser. But it gets worse.
If google makes a change to chrome that people dislike, say hampering ad-blocking via some as-yet-unstandardized change or pushing through a standard that most people dislike, they can then tie the licensing of the unrelated feature to implementing this other thing that people dislike.
For example, Google could refuse to license the DRM code to any browser that interferes with or modifies the playback of the DRMed video stream. Then, they could define modification and interference to include removing ads from the stream.
Or google could just decline to license at all for no reason: https://blog.samuelmaddock.com/posts/google-widevine-blocked...
Yes, but it also fails to make much of an antitrust case about this. I mean, is Widevine licensing anticompetitive? Discriminatory? Surely it would be hard to make a competitor for it. But at the same time Apple and HBO seem to be streaming a ton of content without it.
The harm to open source media playback is real, but that's not an argument about market health. Frankly I'm pretty doubtful much antitrust hay can be made about this. We watch Microsoft choke Netscape to death in the 90's, and at the end of the day nothing happened. Maybe Google will be forced to spin off the Widevine IP to a separate company, I guess. No one is going to kill Chrome for you.
I didn't argue widevine licensing was anticompetitive on its own. I said how Google grants licenses and the terms of the license is part of a larger strategy on Google's part to hamper the ability of consumers to switch away from Chrome.
Yes! Exactly. And the fact that Apple was successful doing that is sort of a killer argument against an antitrust case.
Look, antitrust isn't about enforcing your personal idea of a perfect browser ecosystem. It's about protecting the competetive efficiency of the market by guaranteeing that new and smaller players (and new technologies) don't see an unfair barrier to entry.
Your argument is just that Chrome is an unhealthy monoculture ecosystem. I even agree. But that's not an antitrust case and you need to stop pretending that someone is going to come around and rule Chrome illegal for you. The arguments I've seen are all very narrow and will have very narrow remedies.
If the goal is to build a browser, then everything else (the alternative ecosystem, the alternative OS, the alternative hardware, the custom chips for the hardware, etc.) not required for the actual browser is waste. That's the exact opposite of efficiency.
The issue isn't chrome's ecosystem. The issue is that Chrome is being used to create unfair barriers of entry for Chrome competitors which then allows Google to use Chrome to harm consumers because there are limited competitors for consumers to switch to.
But being required to license anything in order to implement what is a supposed to be an open standard is already a problem for a standard that's supposed to be open, even if it's not an antitrust issue.
There's no public mechanism for doing so. If Apple would do so to people it liked is not known.
You could license PlayReady from Microsoft though, and lots of people do for various implementations. There are also a few other companies that do similar modules, mostly aimed at the global pay TV market.
The terms would be fairly painful for a free browser vendor I expect, but "I priced my product at a level where I can't afford to buy in the things my users want from any of the independent vendors" isn't really an anti-trust concern.
The simple truth is that an antitrust case needs to show some kind of harm to consumers, not to browser vendors. Again, I cite the fact that MS straight up murdered Netscape and got away with it (though it was scary for them for a bit).
Secondly, the issue isn't that google added DRM to chrome, it's that the DRM was pushed into an ostensibly open standard, but the implementation of that open standard is locked behind a licensing agreement with Google because it's illegal to make a compatible client under the DMCA, since that would be considered copyright circumvention.
If instead google and HBO had made a specialized browser app to handle the DRM or even just a browser extension that enabled the browser to understand a nonstandard html tag, then the argument that Google is using Chrome's footprint to to modify open standards to make it harder for people to compete with them starts to fall flat on its face (cw. no one is complaining that an HBO app for android and iOS is a monopoly that needs to be broken up). But doing it that way makes it much harder for HBO to acquire customers, because it requires customers to install a new app on their PC or an extension in their browser.
It's not locked behind a licensing agreement with Google. It just unambiguously isn't. Google's own implementation is, but they aren't even the majority provider of EME CDM modules in the market, and there are several competitors, as well as an entirely free specification for one.
The problem for these smaller browser vendors isn't building their own EME modules, it's convincing major content streaming websites to trust their modules, which they don't. And that really isn't any different to the fact that if they were to start running their own certificate signing authority there's no reason why lots of sites would start trusting them either.
Well, yeah, nothing happened as the IE development was grounded to a halt.
Which makes enough sense. MS always viewed the web as an enemy and wanted people on windows apps as their primary gateways. They needed a browser until they won, then they tried to kill it. Ultimately it was Apple who succeeded at that vision, obviously.
At what vision?
- Brave (Chromium fork, built in ad blocking)
- Opera (Chromium fork)
- Samsung Tizen smart TVs
Browsers which support a similar selection of streaming providers through different DRM solutions:
- Edge (Chromium fork)
Just because you can't get a license for "my personal open source browser" doesn't mean there's a barrier to serious competitors here. (At least, not at present.)
There is no way to know if not one of those "personal open source browsers" they blocked would have become the new chrome. The shared video playback experience of the one they sabotaged sounded neat.
It's not about adblocking, the article gets that wrong. If Chrome limits adblocking there are a bunch of alternatives that allow it. But the DRM control position they lobbied themselves into is in my eyes a barrier of entry to a relevant part of technological projects and something an antitrust case could address.
Yes, there are a few other browsers that can do the same, play DRMed videos. That makes the case harder. But why should Google have the power to control who can build browsers that support streaming sites? All while having economic interests to limit the competition? I think that's still a trust issue.
But I'm absolutely biased. I hated the DRM decision and would love it if it has dire consequences.
You can build one tomorrow. I can go and get the clearkey spec and make one right now, very quickly.
But if you do why do streaming sites trust you? And that really isn't anything to do with Google.
People need to stop thinking of Google and Facebook as if they offer consumer services. They don't. Their product is their ads, and their consumers are corporate marketing departments, and through this lens they are both thoroughly monopolists. Or at least "duopolists".
See also: AMP, internet.org
substitutability isn't often discussed because it's a minor symptom of monopolies and wholly insufficient by itself to prove monopoly power, as every monopolist will have some competition and substitutes. it's unrealistic to expect a monopolist to own 100% of a market (have no competition). it's even more unrealistic to expect no substitutes on top of no competition (a substitute is using an adjacent-market product).
Imagine three companies dominate a given market. In most geographies, say 75%, the two larger companies company with each other and a few other stragglers. But in 25% geography a single company dominates. Who is the problem? The larger companies, competing in their broader market or the smaller company?
As an example, Amazon is dominant in the online retail sphere. The have an incredible market share. But I've never once had this create a significant problem as a consumer. Why? Because the cost to me as a consumer to use something else is tremendously low. I can use Walmart.com which has gotten quite good. Or I can go to a physical store.
Meanwhile, people must tolerate anything Comcast pulls, though they certainly have a smaller share of the personal internet service provision market than Amazon does of the eretail marlet.
To me monopoly is not dangerous because of marketshare. It's dangerous when the bulk of its customers cannot switch to another service. Particularly so if the market is difficult for new competition to enter.
I get all the open internet gripes about Google and what they've done with Chrome. And that thing could become a monster. But the reality is that you can switch today with minimal impact to an excellent alternative browser.
People buying a drug like HUMIRA are not so lucky.
People have Satellite, Cell providers, and usually a DSL option to choose from if they don't like Comcast. Those aren't particularly good options, but realistically neither are the other browsers besides Chrome. Plus, the only other browser that people choose to use is Firefox and that's primarily funded through a deal with Google.
The problem is that Google has laid waste to many potential markets by giving products away for free to protect their ad monopoly. How can you start a competing company in Maps or Browser or mobile OS when your competitor is willing to spend billions to make their product and then give it away for free? The conundrum is is it harmful to consumers? Google gives away a bunch of high quality products for free but ultimately they all serve the Ad master.
Gmail doesn’t conform to email standards and eats random emails. Chrome ignores DNT and other things. Search pushes chrome, etc.
It’s a soft lock in compared to Microsoft’s 90s “bundle IE or we break you” deals with PC manufacturers, but it’s definitely not easy to move away from them. And this makes all the other anti-competitive things compoundedly bad.
What is a quality alternative to Facebook? Diaspora was DOA, Mastodon is a cesspit, Twitter is nothing like Facebook, and G+ is long-dead.
Independent forums and self-hosted blogging. They are about content and real connections with like-minded people. Instead of mindlessly posting little updates throughout the day just for the sake of posting updates, people should save it for when they actually have something to say.
In general: read books not timelines.
My social circles consists of ~6 different cliques of people with no intersection between them. I'm not going to move them all to one forum. Nobody will want to cross-post their life updates in 6 different forums.
> Instead of mindlessly posting little updates throughout the day just for the sake of posting updates, people should save it for when they actually have something to say.
Forums solve the posting part of Facebook, but don't solve the other, even more important part - the reading part.
I derive more value from reading what my friends post, then I do from posting myself. The UX for me getting this information through forums/self-hosted blogging is horrendous (And my aunt is not going to figure out how to self-host her own blog, either.)
At minimum, blogging would need a universal federated identity system with reciprocal ACLs, which is already starting to sound a lot like Facebook.
More to the point on antitrust, the quality alternative to Facebook that most of my peers are now using is Instagram, which Facebook conveniently purchased.
I recommend Digital Minimalism.
Explain what you mean.
Mastodon also fails to solve the harassment problem. Facebook and Twitter do a piss-poor job of it, but Mastodon takes it to another level.
> The attack vector looks like this: a group of motivated harassers chooses a target somewhere in the fediverse. Every time that person posts, they immediately respond, maybe with something clever like “fuck you” or “log off.” So from the target’s point of view, every time they post something, even something innocuous like a painting or a photo of their dog, they immediately get a dozen comments saying “fuck you” or “go away” or “you’re not welcome here” or whatever. This makes it essentially impossible for them to use the social media platform.
> The second part of the attack is that, when the target posts something, harassers from across the fediverse click the “report” button and send a report to their local moderators as well as the moderator of the target’s instance. This overwhelms both the local moderators and (especially) the remote moderator. In mastodon.cloud’s case, it appears the moderator got 60 reports overnight, which was so much trouble that they decided to evict Wil Wheaton from the instance rather than deal with the deluge. 
The problem is that Mastodon conflates identity, and community. You will get moderated by third parties for belonging in a particular community, if that community is poorly moderated. Because the definition of poorly moderated is universal, you get a balkanized, political nightmare, where half the toots half the world sends are unreadable to the other half, even if the sender is not personally violating any rules of either community.
For a social network in 2019, this is unacceptable.
Oh, and if you're one of those people who cares about privacy, the only reason Cambridge Analytica, and its ilk aren't harvesting data from Mastodon, is because it's irrelevant. Yes, you can have private conversations with a particular group of users on it, without leaking data. Guess what? You can do that through e-mail, too. As soon as your toots are public, they can be scraped, your social graph can be re-constructed, packaged, and sold to the highest bidders.
It wasn't "if you want to use Linux", it was "if you want to make a browser".
Also the Widevine authorized for Linux is only 720p on Netflix.
> Without Google Services and the Google Play Store, it’s a brick. They’ve mastered separation of the strategic openness of Android with the accompanying strategic closed-ness of everything that runs on it and makes it actually worth something.
It's scary how true this is. Especially how it's only obvious in hindsight (to me at least). Yet clearly this was orchestrated.
In both Chrome & Androids case it's the non-free tie-in that's the catch. Either play store or DRM/codecs. hmm...who owns the biggest video site..ah right.
We've really only got ourselves to blame for elevating consumer satisfaction above all else and losing sight of the long term.
Witness the premium Intel put on 4+ core CPUs for ages, then suddenly when AMD picked up pace, they could deliver them at half or a third of the price...
In the recent decide it might have swung too far in the other direction.
Some who find themselves so embraced shun the contact. Bork reveled in it.
The proof is in the pudding on Chrome's tangible open source impact:
1. V8 is used in a multitude of projects, node being the most impact-ful. And node has changed desktop (with electron and CLI apps), server and developer workflow
2. Brave, Edge, Opera are just some of the WideVine licensed Chromium based browsers
On the contrary, iOS has banned almost every tenet of common sense general purpose computing:
1. Safari for iOS is purposefully crippled to drive devs and users to it's app store
2. App store has fluid, whimsical, retroactively applied approval laws, ahem whims.
3. It's a general purpose computer that you can own the hardware of, but need the manufacturer's consent to run software on. You know, like needing your fridge maker's approval for the groceries you stock in it.
4. They purposefully stymie competition:
- Spotify, Google-Maps, etc. are denied APIs that give competing Apple offerings an edge.
- 30% tax on external apps again gives Apple's competing offerings unfair edge
- Complete ban on Just-In-Time compiled code and alternate browser engines is intentional - to stymie features and quality to a default of "below Apple's competing offerings"
How one rationalizes Chrome to be more "anti-trust-y" is contrary to logic
Today I learned: the new Edge has both WideVine and PlayReady. I figured they'd just go with PlayReady and be done with it - does WideVine have any real advantages?
I guess there's no reason not to include Widevine as well, but it's funny how this means the new Microsoft Edge supports features no other Chromium-based browser is allowed to use, including Google Chrome.
Getting rid of DRM in general is fine with me, but I don't understand why the focus on Widevine in particular given that its availability is relatively less restricted.
I believe so, yes. (The Win10 app is powered by PlayReady.)
Mandatory link to the netflix-1080p hack, enabling 1080p Netflix playback on Chrome . I don't think it does 4k though, and I believe it causes awful CPU loads.
IMO it was not Chrome that was the problem as much as:
... the way Google has rammed it down the troat of the Internet
... the way Google keep sabotaging other browsers from the server side (yep, ask the Edge team about YouTube or Firefox users about GSuite)
... the way a number of developers has picked up these bad habits and forget (or "forget") to check their sites in all browsers
... and of course the bait and switch they are playing now.
So "ramming it down the throat of the internet"... not so much. It was eagerly adopted by everyone because the only alternatives at the time were IE (with it's curious off-standard interpretation of... well...everything) and Firefox (which at the time was unusably slow and difficult).
It's a huge shame that we've got to this point with it, because it has been the driving force behind the massive improvement in browsers over the last dozen years. It's like watching an old friend being forced to humiliate themselves to keep a job :(
I never preferred Chrome myself but I welcomed it.
> So "ramming it down the throat of the internet"... not so much.
That was later when they started to add it to Java JRE downloads and what not.
> and Firefox (which at the time was unusably slow and difficult).
I'm kind of impatient with computers but the difference between Firefox and Chrome was always to small for me to care about compared to what I had to let go to move away from Firefox.
> It's a huge shame that we've got to this point with it, because it has been the driving force behind the massive improvement in browsers over the last dozen years.
According to many of us it has also been a driving force behind making the web less cross browser friendly.
> It's like watching an old friend being forced to humiliate themselves to keep a job :(
More like my friend who became boss and started taking advantage of it until finally a number of old friends are speaking out agains him.
> The proof is in the pudding on Chrome's tangible open source impact
Yes, the more influence Chrome has, the better it is for Google.
No, what you expect from Open Source software is to be able to fork it, modify it, recompile it, and use the modifications.
Open Source isn't about end-user features, it's about development freedom. A completely open source piece of software could have a set of APIs and UX that keeps you on the rails and doesn't let the end user do what they want. What Open Source shouldn't do, is prevent you from modifying it to edit the app to do what you want after a recompile, and ship and share your modifications with others, that's the freedom open source provides.
Arguably the DRM binary blob angle results in Tivoization, but the idea that this is some elaborate plot for Chrome lock-in by Google is ludicrous. Patent-encumbered compression codecs also created similar headaches and Google went out of their way to try break the MPEG-LA consortium monopoly. The DRM issue is basically forced on the industry by the content publishing industry. If you want to stop this particular issue from making open source browsers hard to develop, you need to talk Netflix, Hulu, Disney, and all of the other players.
Or you just accept that you can't watch most Hollywood produced content in a web browser and leave it up to native apps. Or, we could just mandate everyone have to continue to support Adobe Flash players.
DRM isn't going to magically go away if Chrome were a separate company.
What no one has articulated in any of these conversations is any actual harm that's been done to them. There's a lot of catastrophizing about theoretical harms, but the Web and Mobile industries are far more vibrant than they were in the 90s, and launching some device that includes a browser, mobile OS, or embedded kernel is a fraction of the cost and effort it was in the 90s to do something similar.
Things have gotten easier across the board. Someone launching a new IoT device these days forks chromium, webkit, or android for the UI. This would have cost you huge licensing fees a decade ago and a large engineering team.
How many successful startups are running off node (v8) now? Or Electron (e.g. Discord, Slack, etc)?
Thats wrong. What you expect from open source software is to be able to see the source. This source may be available without the right to modify or redistribute it in any way whatsoever. You're looking for free software as preferred by the fsf, not open source.
> Open-source software (OSS) is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
The difference between open source and free software is only ideological - you are probably thinking of shared source or source available.
If Chrome could somehow be forcefully split off into a decently funded nonprofit, I'd be all for it. I'm not sure that anyone but Google could make that happen, though.
Chrome is subsidized by the rest of Google.
However, a Chrome-with-Google-revenue would be far more independent of Google than Chrome-the-Google-Subsidiary. Mozilla/Firefox has shown that it's still possible to advance privacy even within such an arrangement.
Also, its far from clear who would have the most power in such an arrangement. Without a popular browser of its own, Google will be forced to pay the browser vendors to stay the default, unless it wants to give a search engine competitor a chance to unseat it.
Essentially Mozilla is selling ads, but only to one advertiser (Google) which is easy to disable.
Why does a browser need a revenue model? Why can't a browser just be a piece of software that's "finished", with the occasional security patch?
Chrome is incredibly overcomplex because it attempts to be more than just a browser, and it is part of Google's strategy.
A regular browser doesn't have to be an OS in itself.
Because development isn't free.
> Why can't a browser just be a piece of software that's "finished", with the occasional security patch?
Developing security patches for the dwindling user base such a browser would have isn't free, either.
But even if such a browser existed, the browsers people would actually be using would be the ones evolving with the things people want from the web.
That may have been true 10 years ago, but now the feature set is so rich, that any new ones are really solutions in search of a problem rather than an actual user need. The average customer is pretty much using what Google dictates to get to the internet (used to be MS)
Nothing would change if the current feature set were kept constant
(except lots of HN's would be out of a job and Google might struggle to find new ways to show their ads)
Not at all. App platforms aren't standing still, and one of the goals of web browsers is to make them as capable as app platforms while retaining the safety of the web sandbox.
That includes things like VR/AR, WebAssembly and extensions to it, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), adjusting pages to match the system theming, better video formats, better authentication (Web Authentication), and a hundred other things people actually want.
Browsers are a lot less modular than operating systems and they operate in a different market (eg. contributing to their development doesn't help the bottom line of any company particularly), so Firefox doesn't get a lot of paid for third-party developer time. Hence, Mozilla makes unfortunate compromises.
Opera does this: https://www.opera.com/computer/features/ad-blocker
Would you characterize Mozilla as behaving in ways that favor Google?
I agree that without those motivations it would be hard to fund these projects without them going paid or taking donations, but I take issue with calling them "subsidized".
And ChromeOS is used in places that aren't just Chromebooks. For example, Google's Wifi points are based on ChromeOS.
First, chrome isn't yet close to IEs peak dominance. Ie peaked at over 90% market share.
Second, DRM isn't necessary for watching video, it's needed for watching certain liscenced video. In practice, this means Netflix and streamed televison. You can still watch YouTube just fine, minus YouTube red originals, without widevine. Is a browser that keeps you off Netflix so bad for google?
Waiting until it hits that to do something about it would be pretty ridiculous.
Based on some random stats website, Chrome is currently at 70% share, and Chromium-based browsers are at 77%
I guess if you literally only watch free YouTube videos it's not a problem? Totally not an anti-trust issue...
So... why would it cause any antitrust violation?
Widevine was not the first DRM for videos, it was already common practice for the big paid video websites to require DRM before it was created.
Now imagine that the V2X standard which just got enshrined in law states that every vehicle has to be compatible with every other vehicle etc. And Ford sat down with GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, and offered them a proprietary component which just so happens to do all this V2X stuff without any hassle. And they all agree to use it.
It only be legally built by Ford, but they're the V2X experts so that's OK, right, I mean they're doing a public service, right? Ford is pretty happy selling this component to GM, Toyota, Honda, etc. for a very reasonable fee, so how can there be an issue?
Now imagine some new car company wants to build cars which compete with Ford's cars, and Ford says 'nope, you can't buy our V2X component.' And booyah, Ford now controls who can and can't enter the market.
Right, but this is where the analogy breaks down. Its more like "some municipalities decided that cars on their streets had to be specially registered or they wouldn't let you drive. Some people like those municipalities, but they aren't the majority, and you aren't, at all, forced to go near them.
For your analogy to make sense, the following would need to be true:
1. Apple and Microsoft didn't have competing (and fairly widely used) alternate DRM solutions
2. The average website required DRM to access it.
Without those, this is nothing more than dystopian fanfiction.
1. copyright owners forced Google to implement DRM
2. Or, Google welcomed DRM (with the intention of lock-in)
3. Or, Google should have kept Chrome DRM free and fought the copyright owners...
What is Amp, and why is it so scary?
I do believe it's scary to some because it seems like it's giving google a lot of power and control over content on the web.
The original page is hosted on the original domain. What other hosts provide are AMP caches to display them faster. For example, Microsoft Bing:
>The pages are hosted on google.com
Anyone can roll their own AMP pages and host it on their domains. For example: https://amp.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/6yj6iw/what_did_...
This includes getting your own amp lightning icon in search results when you host with certified CDNs.
Also, I could not find a list of certified CDNs.
Google, Bing, Cloudflare are the three official caches, which is what I think they mean.
Even then it's quite a stretch to go from saying Google controls AMP to saying the validator has an online requirement. Also, as the other commenter said, Google, Bing, and Cloudflare are currently the certified CDNs to get the icon in search results.
Google has only one goal, which is selling advertisements. To do so, it provides, FOR FREE, the best technology services of the planet, including what is basically the entrance door to the internet and a piece of software to make the experience of browsing pleasant.
Nobody forces Google to do so. They could easily make people pay for the services, and nobody could say a thing.
And yet they give this all for free, even allowing you to block the only stream of revenue that they get from you (ads).
The antitrust controversy around Google is just a major case of wanting to have the cake and eating it too. It's like we've had somebody giving us free food for decades, and now we're suropriesd that the terms of a deal that is extremely advantageous for us are changing. We've become accustomed to the idea of fre Google, and we've forgot that Google could make us pay a fee for their services, and we would all shut up and pay.
I don't think people would pay for much of Google's products. Google is candy served so that the target is complacent while it is being invisibly surveiled.
A monopoly is when a company has exclusive control over a good or service in a particular market. Not all monopolies are illegal. For example, businesses might legally corner their market if they produce a superior product or are well managed. Antitrust law doesn’t penalize successful companies just for being successful. Competitors may be at a legitimate disadvantage if their product or service is inferior to the monopolist’s.
But monopolies are illegal if they are established or maintained through improper conduct, such as exclusionary or predatory acts. This is known as anticompetitive monopolization
So, what matters less is whether they are right or wrong and what matters more is what the before mentioned companies are doing about mitigating the risks of being confronted with excessive fines, rulings, and other forms of damage. The answer is, so far not a lot and that may become a problem as it seems pretty clear there is wide spread support for action against them.
I'd say both Google and Apple are pretty far down the road where they will have multi billion euro or dollar fines at some point. They are both highly profitable as well so that in it self would not necessarily be that much of a problem. What would be a problem is governments interfering with their business models.
IMHO, some action here would be good. These companies are getting a bit complacent about their position in the market and quite arrogant about casually snuffing out competition when it suits them. In general, it's time for a shake up in the mobile space. Google and Apple earned their position with the work they did last decade but nothing is forever and I remember a time when there were more credible options then just them.
Can Microsoft pay Google to have it recommend Edge on the Google search homepage?
Should Chrome, rather than have Google.com as the default homepage, offer a list of Search engines for the user to choose from?
Should Chrome be the default browser on Android or should the user choose from a list?
First, not having competition does not make one a monopoly. It's anti-competitive (unfair) practices that make one a monopoly.
IE, now that had the form of a monopoly, in its day.
Then, he goes on to ignore WHATWG, which is the real authority, and is comprised of Apple, Mozilla, Google, Microsoft. I don't follow closely enough, but I'd be surprised to learn that Google has outsized power.
Lastly, to the extent that widevine is important, it isn't restricted to Chrome.
(With a bit of DRM needed for video, so those competitors can't be pure open source. But still, it's not going to stop Microsoft.)
The article admits to this, then kind of ignores it.
No it wouldn't, if the mustache-twirling villain's indent was control. Those competitors are following most if not all of Chrome's implementation decisions, and economically they're highly incentivized follow whatever Google does.
They'd likely remain mostly compatible because all browser vendors do try to follow web standards nowadays. But maybe not more than Safari and Chrome are compatible. And it helps maintain Microsoft's veto on web standards (like Firefox has vetoed previous Chrome proposals).
They explicitly said they wouldn't fork Chromium.
But the point is, they can fork, so that means Chrome doesn't have full control.
Didn't Microsoft recently throw in the towel with Edge, and switch to Chromium, because they thought it was too much trouble to maintain their own engine?
There are occasional debates on Hacker News about when you should rewrite your codebase. Similar arguments apply here: when should you rewrite someone else's codebase?
-- Jean-Luc Picard, Captain, USS Enterprise