If you can't innovate, litigate
So, Europe is going after Google again.
I think this is especially dumb this time, for 2 entirely different reasons.
The first reason is that the underlying reasoning doesn't pass basic logic:
-If you assume that the functionality of Google's search engine is inherently unrelated to their other products (and therefore shouldn't be tied to those other products), you're implying that there's essentially zero "stickiness" to search, i.e. that the fundamental reason why a user would pick one search engine over another for any individual search is based purely on the quality of the search results. Under that assumption, you're implying that the market is purely competitive, and that the reason why so many people use Google's search engine over the competition is that Google's search engine fills those people's needs better.
-If on the other hand you assume that the functionality of Google's search engine is inherently related to their other products, you can't then hold the reasoning that they're artificially tied together. I actually think that Google is in that domain, where their products work very well together.
The second reason is that Europe's other behaviors naturally privilege larger players. One of many such examples is around the "right to be forgotten": the number of search results to censor is the same for a small search engine than it is for a large one, and the cost of censoring those results is disproportionately harder to bear for a smaller search engine than for a large one.
If Europe really wants more competition for Google, they can approach it in several other ways:
-They can take down the laws that favor big players. As an example, for the right to be forgotten, instead of censoring the news results (which isn't a scalable solution in a competitive environment), the information that people don't want to see should be censored at the source (or at least mark it as non-searchable), such that no search engine will show that information, regardless of that search engine's size.
-They can facilitate direct competition against the incumbents by legislating forms of neutrality. Net neutrality obviously comes to mind, but it isn't the only one. Pushing much further, licensing neutrality where copyright owners must license their works under equal terms to all companies, big and small.
-They can uniformize their laws a lot more. When it comes to IP laws, privacy laws, Europe isn't the 3rd largest "country" in the world, in fact they don't break into the top 15. To build products for Europe as a whole, you currently need an army of lawyers, because you're really still building for 28 individual countries, and that also favors large players over smaller ones.
Ultimately, coming back to my title, the behavior I'm seeing from Europe worries me a lot for the future. Europe is seeing itself as being non-competitive in Internet technologies, and as a result it plays a somewhat protectionist approach. However, that's also an isolationist approach, and isolating themselves from the state of the art isn't suddenly going to make Europe catch up in technology. Rather, Europe will fall even further behind as a result.