Will John Battelle have to eat his Google words, AGAIN?
In a typically Battellesque headline today, he responds to Bloomberg reports of calls for a General Electric spin-off of NBC Universal to the Googleplex by declaring:
Google-NBC: Very dumb idea.
How so? Battelle’s assessment:
Analysts are saying that there is no "synergy" between NBC, a GE Unit, and the conglomerates' other units. So the analysts suggest selling it. That is nothing new, this kind of stuff is tossed around all the time on Wall St. But what is new is the suggestion that the best buyer might be Google.
Such a move would be a monumental error. Google is not a company that wants to or probably even knows how to own a major media company. Also, it has outlined a strategy that positions the company as a Switzerland of sorts with regard to major media companies. Buying one of them would kill that strategy.
Google, a Switzerland to media companies, as in neutral third-party, safe-haven? One billion dollar copyright infringement plaintiff Viacom would undoubtedly beg to differ.
Costa Rica would be a better country analogy regarding Google’s big media strategy.
Why? Costa Rica is a venue of choice for Internet companies seeking refuge from U.S. online restrictions, on gaming.
The legality of online betting is a complicated matter of some dispute in the United States. The government asserts that the federal Wire Act prohibits all Internet casinos, but the courts have been divided. (as reported by The New York Times, “U.S. Steps up push against online casinos by seizing cash”)
The legality of unauthorized online uploads of copyright video at Google’s YouTube is, of course, also a complicated matter of some dispute in the United States and parties are divided over the Google DMCA fueled business model.
Moreover, a prospective Google interest in acquiring NBC Universal is not “dumb,” or even far-fetched.
Just last week I challenged Google to step-up to the plate for a big time media acquisition. SEE: Why is Google afraid to buy Clear Channel?
If John (The Google Search) Battelle does have to eat his words on this NBC Universal call, it wouldn’t be his first Google miss.
Upon the Google-DoubleClick announcement, Battelle found himself in a hungry state of mind: He had to eat his (prior) words:
My sources told me that Google was building its own, now it's clear it wanted the relationships which came via a market leader. And to force me to eat my post, which I will do Monday when I can get home to a printer (yum).
And I will eat my post before where I said they would not…
The feast was undoubtedly, brief, just like his original discussion:
Google might buy DoubleClick after all. But...why? Oh wait, now I know. To push Microsoft to spend even more for it. If Google buys DoubleClick, I'll eat this post.
Another Battelle Google miss, earlier this week, was corrected by Steve Langdon of Google, rebutting Battelle’s analysis of an SEC required filing by Google of an internal company meeting transcript.
Why? In a post entitled “Goodness,” Batellle began “Sometimes, sounding arrogant isn't intentional. It's just in the bloodstream, or it's casually tossed off without thinking how it might sound” to introduce his take on a Google employee briefing, citing a third party report, not the source SEC document.
Battelle quotes "a very interesting Merc story on Google's internal communications regarding stock options":
Technically, this is an e-mail that informs all 12,230-plus Googlers that the in-house market for transferable stock options has been shut down. In reality, it means something really, really big is about to happen to the company that could affect the stock price.
"For example, if Google decides it wants to buy Yahoo, that's a really big deal," said David Sobota, Google's senior corporate counsel. "We wouldn't want to disclose that to the world the first time Eric Schmidt comes to a handshake agreement with Terry Semel about it, because that could disrupt the negotiation process.
Read that last quote again. ""For example, if Google decides it wants to buy Yahoo,".... I can't imagine how that sounds in the halls over at Yahoo. Youch.
Subsequently, Google to Battelle:
I think you've read far too much into this imaginary illustration that was offered as a way to help explain a complex program….To help explain what kinds of things would suspend the program, the attorney offered an imaginary illustration that would be easily understood -- it was intended to be humorous and the audience clearly understood that it was made tongue in cheek.
Will Battelle soon be eating another one of his posts? STAY TUNED!
ALSO: Google DoubleClick merger: Who wins, who loses and
Google DoubleClick: The REAL big time payoff and
YouTube: Why Google is running scared and
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