Shouldn’t Google,
Yahoo, and Microsoft practice neutrality if they’re going to demand it from

There has been a
lot of coverage in the news lately about “net neutrality”. Basically, net neutrality would guarantee equal
internet access by law.

For example, it
would make it illegal for a provider of DSL to block your access to Vonage or
to provide Vonage users a lower level of service (bandwidth) than other
internet traffic. It would also make it
illegal for a provider to charge a premium for better (faster) service.

The proponents
say that it protects the consumer. The
opponents say that it limits their funding to improve the internet and forces them
to give corporations access to infrastructure benefits for free.

I am not taking a stand here for or against net neutrality.  I’m highlighting an inconsistency:

The companies demanding
neutrality are not practicing it themselves.

Microsoft is one
proponent. They are in the news right
now too:

In April Google complained to competition authorities in America and Europe that an upgraded version of
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser, to be released later this year, may
unfairly harm competition because it could send search queries to Microsoft’s
own search-engine by default.” “Damned if you do”, May 4, 2006, The Economist print edition 

Does that sound

What about Yahoo!
and Google?

Don’t they give
their own products (or affiliate company’s products) preferential
treatment? Has anyone but Firefox ever
had an ad on the Google homepage?

Try to combine
services from both Google and Yahoo! according to your preferences. You’ll immediately start to run into difficulties. Why? It’s because
each company takes steps to integrate and promote its own affiliates. Yahoo doesn’t want you to use Google’s
calendar or Blogger and Google doesn’t want you to use Flickr.

As a small
business, I certainly want to insure that I continue to have access to services
that I need, network effectively with business partners, and market my business
through an ever improving and accessible internet at a cost I can afford. I also understand that every one of these
companies is a for-profit enterprise. So
am I!

But (as naïve as
it may sound), I don’t like to do business with hypocrites!



Net Neutrality is
covered in detail in several articles and blogs:

, by James Surowiecki, The New
, Issue of 2006-03-20

Liz Strauss, on Successful Blog, has an excellent Net Neutrality page
with just about every link you could find useful.


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