Vodafone and other big operators are not Google's best friends right now.
They're happy enough to carry Android phones, but Voda and Telefonica want a "Google tax" for the company and other big content providers, based on the load their content represents for operators' networks. Of course, this is the big issue at the heart of the net neutrality debate — more on which later this summer.
So what's Google's response? Join us, they say, let's make money together.
According to a very interesting account, written by analyst Dean Bubley, of an IMS conference in Barcelona, Google's YouTube representative for southern Europe made a presentation yesterday to industry people, showing off the advertising capabilities of the video platform.
Here's what Dean had to say:
My take is that Google is offering a (smallish) olive branch to operators at the moment — basically a revenue-share on advertising, where operators help them extend the reach of their existing properties. This is behind Android, and I expect the subliminal messaging behind the presentation was to convince operators that carrying (and indeed promoting) YouTube is in their own interest.
Do read Dean's post for further analysis of the situation. This stuff is all going to become increasingly important — if operators and content providers don't play nice, the equal nature of the web could soon become a thing of the past.