Flirting With Verizon, Google Drops 'Don't Be Evil' Pretense - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
10/31/2007
05:03 PM
Richard Martin
Richard Martin
Commentary
50%
50%

Flirting With Verizon, Google Drops 'Don't Be Evil' Pretense

The word "evil" is vastly overused these days. Here's a link to the "Top 10 Evil People in History," if you've got an afternoon to blow -- and I would never call a major U.S. wireless carrier "evil." Oligopolistic, predatory, bureaucratic, yes -- evil, no. So the idea of Google shacking up with Verizon Wireless doesn't exactly qualify as "Doing e

The word "evil" is vastly overused these days. Here's a link to the "Top 10 Evil People in History," if you've got an afternoon to blow -- and I would never call a major U.S. wireless carrier "evil." Oligopolistic, predatory, bureaucratic, yes -- evil, no. So the idea of Google shacking up with Verizon Wireless doesn't exactly qualify as "Doing evil." But still.Briefly, by holding (reported and all but confirmed) talks with Verizon about marketing mobile devices carrying Google applications and, likely, the forthcoming Google mobile operating system, the search company has taken back everything its executives have been saying for the last year about open networks, open applications, and an open wireless market in the United States. If you wanted to stick a pin in the date the whole "Don't be evil" slogan that Larry Page and Sergey Brin once tried to run their business by became fully obsolete, today would be a good choice.

Verizon's executive VP for public affairs, policy, and communications (i.e., chief lobbyist) Thomas Tauke was just about hooted off the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco when he tried to defend his company's anti-open-network position. (Among Tauke's howlers: "There's still plenty of spectrum left in the U.S.!") The Web 2.0 Summit was filled with people leading companies that depend on the mobile version of the Internet being as free-wheeling, "neutral" (a loaded term to be sure), and borderless as the fixed version on which you're reading this post. Google has been a leading proponent of that openness. Verizon, to say the least, has not.

Of course, there's always the chance that Verizon will see the light and decide to throw open its wireless broadband network (assuming it actually builds one), sell devices that use open-standards platforms like the Google mobile OS, and abandon customer-punishing practices like stiff termination fees. Don't count on it: In case you missed it, Verizon last week was slapped with a $1.1 million judgment by the New York state attorney general for "deceptive marketing" of its $60/month "Unlimited" broadband access plan, which was actually rather limited. "From 2004 until April of this year, Verizon Wireless terminated over 13,000 consumers nationwide for 'excessive' use of its 'unlimited' Internet access plans," the statement from the AG's office said.

The amazing part of that story is that, while Verizon agreed to halt the misleading ads, it did not agree to offer unlimited access. So if you want to, say, download a movie or play a video game over your Verizon connection, you're still out of luck.

Google, of course, is free to strike whatever sort of deals with whatever sort of companies it pleases, within the laws and regulations governing public companies in this country. Just spare us the "Don't be evil" stuff, please.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
Gartner Forecast Sees 7.3% Shrinkage in IT Spending for 2020
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/15/2020
Slideshows
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
Commentary
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Video
Current Issue
Special Report: Why Performance Testing is Crucial Today
This special report will help enterprises determine what they should expect from performance testing solutions and how to put them to work most efficiently. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll