Last night in a television interview, Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, being questioned on avoiding antitrust challenges, said, "Hopefully we won't repeat the mistakes that Microsoft (MSFT) made, you know, 10 years ago that ultimately led to all these things that happened with them." Got news for you, Eric: You've already made them and continue to.
The number of ways that Google has interested regulators and concerned other businesses is remarkable, and parallels Microsoft in some ways:
When talking about why users should trust them, the explanation essentially is "because we say so" and because they're interested in your welfare.
Google dominates search almost to the extent that Microsoft dominated desktop and laptop operating systems.
Google is more apt to do something first and ask for permission only after the lawsuits start hitting the fan, as with the book scanning.
Just as Microsoft once did, Google has ignored concerns over antitrust, no matter how much lip service it gives to the concept. If that were not the case, we wouldn't have seen so much government attention in the U.S. and Europe over the company's activities.
The one area where I haven't seen a close comparison is in Microsoft's long reputation from being an untrustworthy partner. But the essential fear of Google absorbing all forms of revenue generation regarding various types of content remains. Google has to do much more than avoid the problems that Microsoft eventually found itself in. It must extricate itself from the morass that it has already been creating. What really got Microsoft was the culmination of little actions that remained invisible to management, and that is ultimately what will trip Google up.
Image via stock.xchng user ilco, site standard license.
Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.