Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, has been making waves in the tech industry since taking over from former CEO Steve Ballmer. While he has led Microsoft to new heights, his relationship with Google has remained contentious, as he testified in a recent antitrust lawsuit against the search giant.
Geekwire obtained a partial transcript of Nadella’s testimony, where he shared that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, utilizes its considerable power to stifle competition.
During his testimony, Nadella voiced his belief that Alphabet, the parent company of Google, uses its immense power to stifle competition. He dismissed the notion that users have genuine choices when it comes to their online activities, arguing that defaults play a significant role in shaping user behavior.
Nadella stated, “This entire notion that users have a choice and they go from one website to one website or one search into one search…it’s [completely] bogus. There are defaults…You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth and you search on Google. And so therefore, with that such level of habit forming, the only way to change is by changing defaults.”
The Microsoft CEO further criticized Alphabet for selling a false narrative that Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners have a choice. In reality, Nadella asserted, Google wields significant influence through both incentives and consequences.
He remarked, “Google has carrots, and it has massive sticks…‘We’ll remove Google Play if you don’t have us as the primary browser.’ And without Google Play, an Android phone is a brick. And so that is the type of stuff that is impossible to overcome. No OEM is going to do that.”
While Nadella’s concerns about monopolistic practices and antitrust issues are well-known, he surprised many by expressing worry about artificial intelligence (AI). According to the CEO, despite his enthusiasm for AI, he fears it may exacerbate the existing vicious cycle of defaults and reinforce proprietary content.
“I worry a lot, even in spite of my enthusiasm, that there is a new angle with AI. I worry a lot that, in fact, this vicious cycle that I’m trapped in can even become even more vicious because the defaults get reinforced. The publisher’s content can get locked in. And so if there are exclusive content deals which are happening right as we speak…all that content today, at least that’s crawlable by everyone and usable by large model training, could become exclusive,” Nadella shared.
The CEO’s concern centers around the potential loss of knowledge and content accessibility. He believes the content currently open and available to everyone could become proprietary, further limiting the opportunities for innovation.
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