Feeds

Google antitrust? Ask the one man who can (almost) answer

To know the unknowable

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Does Google set prices?

So we asked the larger questions. Given what we do know about AdWords, is it really an auction? Given that Yahoo!'s Panama mimics the AdWords setup — and given the added wrinkle of something like squashing — is it an auction? At what point do these complex online auctions cease to be auctions?

He didn't answer these questions directly. "The way we tend to think about this is a little bit different," he said. "We're often trying to juggle many different objectives: make money, help user, deliver value to advertisers. That leads to complex systems. That's not necessarily fatal to the system. If I'm a search advertiser, I can change my bid a little and assess what happens. The system can give optimization tools that will help [advertisers] make sensible choices.

"The American economy is an immensely complex object...But does that mean you can't achieve an effective life in the system? Not necessarily."

A sensible answer. But it doesn't get to the heart of the antitrust issue. So we asked point blank: Does Google set prices?

"I think it's substantially true that they don't set prices. Yes, they have a reserve price, but that has a minor effect on the overall volume of commerce...I buy that argument. They don't substantially set prices. Could they? Maybe. But they don't." Then he paused. "Transparency would obviously help," he added.

What McAfee does say that ultimately Google — and Yahoo! — benefit more from competition among bidders than from straight price settings. The competitive bidding is what makes AdWords so successful. "They could be cheating in some sense and we would have a hard time knowing it because they're so opaque," he said. "[But] if I could have two bidders or one bidder and a reserve price, I'd be better off with two bidders.

"Am I standing up and swearing in court? No."

But perhaps one day he will. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.