Plaxo and Comcast


I'm still trying to make sense of the news that Comcast is buying Plaxo (reported value of the deal between $100 and $200 M). I can't tell you how happy I am for Plaxo and especially Joseph Smarr who I have great respect for (see our Technometria interview with Joseph Smarr here).

Still, the discontinuity between what Plaxo is and what Comcast does is jarring--at least on the surface. I believe there is a fundamental conflict o interest between a company that does both transmission of traffic and sells other Internet services. Yeah, I know they all do it, but if the FCC wants to do something useful, they ought to separate those functions.

The fact that they have little real competition leads to problems like not treating customer fairly and throttling BitTorrent. That's a problem--but one that I believe will work itself out with more competition--and that's going to come one way or another. But the real problem is that Comcast offers many services that directly compete against the traffic they carry. Do we expect them to act in an unbiased manner in that regard? Sorry, I don't. Where's the Anti-Trust Department when you need them?