Sunday, December 2, 2007

Does Google intend to win the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction?

Suppose three different players of a team tell you right before a big match, "Whether we win or lose this match, the game and spectators will always be the winners!" Now what would you think of that team's chances of winning?

That is correct: not much. I have heard similar statements from commentators in the media after India lost big cricket matches. But I never thought I'd hear such words from Google. But this is exactly what Google's official line seems to be, with only a few more weeks to go before the 700 MHz spectrum auction.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt in the press release announcing Google's intentions to bid:
"No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet."

Google's co-founder Larry Page as quoted in Fortune magazine's Techland blog:
“I don’t think we feel like there is a desperate need for us to have to bid to win or anything like that,” Page told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call last month. “We have many, many different options available to us as a company in terms of spectrum.”

Finally, the very title of the Official Google blog post by Chris Sacca, Google Head of Special Initiatives, announcing their auction entry, pretty much seems to say it directly:
Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.

Even if Google did not intend to bid in the auction to win, why would its official stand be so blantantly obvious? Is this a deliberate ploy to convey the message that Google is not all that desperate to win (which is quite true, anyway)?

I wrote in the previous post that I don't believe Google will not bid to win. Now that sounds like fanboy optimism even to my own self. The above quotes from Google are not very encouraging. There are a lot of fanboys out there who have high hopes that Google will ride in like a knight in shining armor and rescue American consumers from the tight clutches of incumbent evil telcos. They are going to be mighty disappointed if Google does not win the 700 MHz auction.

And, if Google does not even put up a sincere and honest fight? Could be a bad PR move, which would bring down Google's image a few notches down.

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