In the ongoing arm-wrestling match between Washington politicians and Silicon Valley techies, chalk one up for Washington.
A New York Times story about the fate of the Google-Yahoo ad deal takes note of Google's continued schooling in the ways of Washington. There have been earlier warnings that Google's California spirit alone wasn't going to charm the folks on Capitol Hill. Things are done certain ways in Washington - and saying out loud that you'll move forward with the ad deal with or without regulatory approval - is not one of them. From the Times story:
On Sept. 17, Mr. Schmidt told a group of reporters gathered at Google headquarters that his company would begin the partnership in October with or without Justice approval. “Time is money in our business,” he said. But he also noted that Google had not explained the benefits of the deal clearly.
“I watched that with some amusement because policy makers don’t like to be told that they’re irrelevant, and what that announcement amounted to was they were told they are irrelevant,” said another technology lobbyist at a Washington firm who spent several years as a Congressional aide. “Well, they just found out how relevant policy makers are.”
The deadline to move forward on that deal has passed and Google and Yahoo are still waiting for a decision in Washington. Google maintains that this delay is the result of lobbying efforts by Microsoft to derail the deal, an accusation that Microsoft denies. Still, The Times also notes that, when it comes to learning the ways of Washington, Google's best teacher just might be Microsoft. Google, recognizing that it was time to start working from the Washington rule book, has recently take a few courses of action:
- The company recently hired new outside counsel that are former of the Clinton and current Bush administrations.
- It created Google policy fellowships that will place students in organizations that research policies important to the company.
- It sent executives, including Schmidt, to the Democratic and Republican national conventions for some networking and schmoozing opportunities with bureaucrats and politicians.