As Jerry Brito reports, Schmidt, who has close ties to the Obama administration, emphasized the many ways in which the environment in which operates is different from the world of the 1990s, when Microsoft was accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices:
“I ask you to remember that not all companies are cut from the same cloth, and that one company’s past need not be another’s future,” he said. “We live in a different world today, and the open Internet is the ultimate level playing field.”
“Open” and “Internet” are the key words there. …
Because its products are open source and it complies with open standards, Schmidt said several times, Google can’t lock in customers. And the fact that it has to operate on the Internet adds to that, he said.
“We live in constant fear that consumers will switch to other services,” Schmidt said. “One of the consequences of the open Internet is that consumers have choices they didn’t have two decades ago.” Again, implying that unlike the old Microsoft, Google’s customers can leave at any moment.
Critics like Ben Edelman of Harvard Business School have argued that Google is guilty of what he calls “hard-coding” bias, an argument that merits at least some consideration. It is also true, however, that Google’s devotion to open source and open standards has created vulnerabilities, as evidenced by Baidu’s decision to release a forked version of Android, per the following from Engadget:
At present time, Baidu’s a desktop web browser / search engine based in China that’s meant to mimic Chrome (though it’s actually wrapped around IE code). The company, however, has its sights set on conquering the mobile front as well, introducing Baidu Yi OS at its annual get-together. The new platform is essentially a forked version of Android, which will provide a lot of the same functionality and services we’re used to seeing from Google; Baidu, though, is adding a dash of flavor by throwing in its own bundle of apps — such as native maps, reader, music, web apps, and even a program similar to Google Places — as well as strong cloud integration for backups, storage and sharing.
I think that Schmidt has the more convincing argument.