Interview Transcript

One argument I think is interesting is spinning out Double Click because they do own the ad ecosystem. The argument is that it’s anti-competitive. Do you buy into that?

I don’t really buy into that. If Double-Click left Google, what is it? Just another demand-side advertising platform. Very quickly, the power of Double Click would go down to the other demand-side platforms. Its power sits with Google because Google owns the data. Double Click without Google is just an ads platform, another ad tech company. Maybe in the early stages, it would be more powerful, but very quickly, it would become just another player in the ecosystem. Google would still see data on who’s searching for what, who’s watching what video, who’s using maps for what purpose. Double Click would just become another ad serving and ad-buying platform.

Do you think search should be a regulated utility in this day and age?

I don’t think it should. For starters, utilities are national. Let’s say the US government bought Google — does the rest of the world want their search run by the US government? It’s tricky. There isn’t a world government, and arguably, the UN is losing its power with populist leaders around the world. I’m not sure that helps. Will they end up being regulated a bit like utilities? Maybe. You have to store data like this. You have to do this. You have certain duties to consumers along these lines. That might happen, but I don’t think they would be publicly owned.

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