Editorial: Google's success should be admired not criticised

It's human nature to mistrust corporate success. And especially so since the macho behaviour within so many major financial institutions has been exposed as reckless and greed-driven.

It's this that has transformed what has al-ways been a natural instinct to believe that a very successful company can't have won through without bending a few rules along the way into total cynicism.

Now it's Google's ill-luck to find itself under scrutiny in this hostile climate. Twenty-six MPs have signed a motion voicing concern that it has increased its share of the online search ad market to almost 90 per cent. Google has cornered the market - and that can't be healthy, they claim.

Superficially, there seems cause for concern. Google dominates its sector. Last year, advertising accounted for £21 billion of its revenue - 97 per cent of its earnings. Moreover, Google's influence can only grow as more advertising migrates from print and traditional broadcast media.

Yet, while this may seem like an overwhelming case for action to break Google's stranglehold, there's a stronger counter-argument for retaining the status quo.

The MPs' motion suggests monopolies are inherently wrong. That's not necessarily the case. It's the abuse of monopolistic power that's wrong. And the evidence that Google has done so isn't forthcoming.

Its dominant position has evolved because its product is perceived as the best by consumers who have naturally gravitated to it. Why? Because users find that ads on Google aren't overtly intrusive and are often relevant. Its success is all the more remarkable given that the internet offers consumers enormous choice. They can change search engine whenever they like and at no cost.

If MPs think Google has a case to answer, they need to say clearly what it is - and how they would go about capping its market share. Coming in the wake of their criticism of the company for running gambling ads during a recession, this is beginning to look like vindictiveness.

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