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Why "White Spaces" is just corporate welfare innovation

The Hill has a good article highlighting the growing "battle" over "White Spaces", or the potential for use of the buffer spectrum bands in-between TV channels to ensure that there is no interference with TV signals.

Google-Yahoo ad deal would also be a trial balloon testing FTC's antitrust mettle

The Wall Street Journal's scoop that Yahoo is considering a two week trial of outsourcing search to Google -- is also a trial balloon testing the FTC's antitrust mettle.

If you don't remember, the last sentence of the FTC's Majority opinion approving the Google-DoubleClick merger was a clear warning to Google:

  • "We want to be clear, however, that we will closely watch these markets and, should Google engage in unlawful tying or other anticompetitive conduct, the Commission intends to act quickly."

Let's also put this into context.

more back and forth with Techdirt on Google fleecing American Taxpayer of $7 billion

I want to thank Mike Masnick for his good comment to my blog post. This post is part of a string responding to Mr. Masnick's criticism of my original blog post entitled: "Google unabashed about gaming FCC auction process to fleece the American taxpayer of $7 billion."

I accept his gracious apology for starting his original critique with an ad hominem attack and I in turn want to apologize to Mr. Masnick for incorrectly assuming that he was on Google's side when he says he has no side -- I take him at his word.

My response to Techdirt's defense that "Google did not fleece taxpayers out of $7 Billion"

This post responds to Techdirt's, Mike Masnick, who came after me for my post of Friday in which I estimated that Google fleeced the American Taxpayer out of $7 billion in the latest FCC auction. 

  • I commented on Mr. Masnick's post last night (#18) and Mr. Masnick quickly posted a response (#19) claiming my adding my "two cents" to the comment string about me -- was not enough in his judgment. 

So lets start with Mr. Masnick's retort to my assertion that most of the comments were just ad hominem attacks and not based on the merits of my charge that Google fleeced the American Taxpayer. Mr. Masnick replied that he and Derek used their names and why did I not respond to them.

Responding to criticisms of my $7 billion estimate that Google fleeced taxpayers.

Martin Geddes of Circle ID challenged my estimation methodology in reaching that Google fleeced the American taxpayer for $7 billion.  

With all due respect to Mr. Geddes, first his analogy of taking "a tasty apple, a yummy banana and a mouldy pear, is simply not analogous here. One doesn't pay $4.7b for a "mouldy pear." The regulations did not make the spectrum itself bad to eat, but simply restricted the use of the spectrum or in Mr. Geddes example how someone would be allowed to eat a good pear. People will pay less for a fruit if they are restricted on when and how they can eat it. 

Second, Mr. Geddes suggests I am confusing the American taxpayer with the American public. I most certainly am not. I am recognizing that there is a very specific law, the 1993 Budget Act, which effectively defines that the American public is the American taxpayer because the purpose of these spectrum auctions are to reduce budget deficits. One may not agree with how the law defines the American public in this instance, but that opinion doesn't change that it is the operative law here.  

My estimate in my blog was trasparent and simple so everyone could see how I got my figure.

  • The important point here is that Google fleeced the American taxpayer of several billion dollars, was it $7b? $5?b $9b? $3b? -- it depends on the estimating method.
  • My estimating method was straightforward, transparent, logical, simple and easy to understand. 
  • I stand by it until someone else comes up with a more defensible estimate.    

New spending surprise for Google's 1Q08 earnings?

My eyebrows raised when I read the FT's article: "Google loses talent that turned chos into capital."

What attracted my attention is that Google is reacting to the ~37% drop in Google's stock price by spending shareholders money on giving restricted stock to employees who are no longer satisfied with stock options.

I wonder what the price tag will be for this, it could be significant....

New York Times op ed on net neutrality uses the wrong analogies

Successful Internet musician, Damian Kulash wrote for the New York Times, the standard pro-net neutrality op ed -- Beware the New Thing.

  • It looks like its was ghost-drafted by the FreePress/Moveon.org media machine, because it lip-synched SaveTheInternet's standard chorus -- that because the monopoly phone system was regulated as a common carrier... all internet service providers should be regulated like common carriers!

There are two big flaws in that logic.

Google unabashed about gaming the FCC auction process to fleece the taxpayer of ~$7billion

Many have broadly swallowed Google's "spin" that Google really "won" by losing the 700Mhz auction -- without digesting the serious implications of Google's public admission.   

  • So needy to convince everyone that Googlers, yet again, proved themselves to be the smartest people alive, Google hasn't realized that they have unabashedly admitted to de facto gaming and manipulating an official Government auction statutorily-created to fully reward taxpayers for commercial use of public airwaves. 
  • Miguel Helft of The New York Times has the best coverage of Google's actions in the auction in his article: "An Auction That Google Was Content to Lose." 
    • Our primary goal was to trigger the openness conditions,” said Richard Whitt, Google’s Washington telecommunications and media counsel."
    • The article goes on to explain its nonsensical bidding strategy of bidding against itself: "For much of the first week, Google gradually topped its own bids. With no competitors emerging, anxiety grew."  

So what's wrong with what Google did?  

First and foremost, Google's flagrant manipulation of the auction rules and process fleeced the American taxpayer out of at least $7 billion, by my estimate.

Why isn't Google warning users about their heightened risk of identity theft and fraud?

Surprisingly, Google continues to keep its users in the dark on the new reported cyber-security threat where cyber-crooks have infiltrated Google's searches putting them at heightened risk of identity theft and fraud.  

The San Franciso Chronicle in its article "Hackers infiltrate Google's searches" followed up on the original USA Today article "Google searchers could end up with a new kind of bug."  I blogged on the USA Today story and explained why this problem is a big deal.  

  • Per the Chronicle article, "Google is working on a filter that will find and automatically block such malicious Web addresses, a spokesman said Tuesday. In the meantime, it has been contacting affected organizations to advise them on how to fix their sites' vulnerabilities."
  • WHY ISN'T GOOGLE WARNING ITS USERS!  Google users are the ones that are at immediate risk of losing their identity and private information to crooks forever -- not the websites.  

Apparently, from what I have been able to gather from my sources -- Google is under the illusion that because they don't control the websites that are infected -- they don't have an obligation to warn their users.

Let's review the facts of why Google may have: a budding user trust problem, a potential PR disaster on its hands, and a potential legal contingent liability/class action lawsuit vunerability for shareholders to worry about.

Of course the FCC will deny the Skype-Carterfone petition for open access regulation of wireless

It was very welcome, but not surprising news, that FCC Chairman Martin and a majority of the FCC plan to deny eBay-Skype's petition to apply 1960's "Carterfone" monopoly regulations on today's wireless competitors.

This was not a close call. Carterfone regulations were appropriate forty years ago with a monopoly and no competition. However, dusting off ancient regulations for a bygone monopoly era have no business or relevance today. 

The facts are that Americans enjoy more wireless competition than most any country in the world, enjoy the lowest or near lowest wireless prices in the world, and use about four times more wireless minutes than our european counterparts, because of the dramatically lower prices -- all per the American Consumer Institute

  • The market is serving consumers excellently, and vastly better than regulators could ever hope to.

The Skype petition is an excellent evidence that the net neutrality movement does not believe in competition policy or a free market Internet, but believe in a government managed Internet.

  • The FCC majority rightfully understands that government control and regulation of the Internet would be an unmitigated disaster for all concerned.  

    

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths