Google Calls Out Mobile Phone Operators

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Google’s Chris Sacca took a swing at mobile phone operators the other day, and others in the Internet industry were quick to join him. Consumers are, according to the head of special initiatives at Google, being blocked from accessing certain bandwidth-hungry applications.

“We’ve been getting notes from some of the telco carriers who are saying look, you need to stop our customers from downloading this thing,'” Sacca told an audience at Oxford University’s Said Business School. “This thing” is Google Mobile Maps.

“They’re inserting themselves in between you and an application that you want,” Sacca said of mobile operators. “I think that has scary, scary implications.”

ZDNet’s Graeme Warden and David Meyer reported Sacca’s comments. “Sacca also criticized mobile operators who claim to provide unlimited Internet access, but ban their users from using applications such as VoIP or streaming video,” according to the pair.

More words of condemnation came from Reid Hoffman, the chief executive of LinkedIn. “I think it’s inevitably just a matter of time before general IP and open protocols get to mobile phones,” he said. “And it’s like are you sure you want to be standing there when the dam finally goes down?’ I think a lot of people in Silicon Valley are agitating to work out how do we take the dam down faster?”

A Tech Digest article carried a quote from Bobby Rao, Vodafone’s corporate strategy director, by way of reply to Sacca’s and Hoffman’s comments. “VoIP is not a service,” Rao said. “It’s a technology which provides only one thing – cheaper calls – and we can provide cheaper calls very easily by cutting prices. We think the best way to offer people cheaper calling plans is to offer them cheaper calling plans . . . . The value customers are looking for is not VoIP.”

But as Tech Digest’s Andy Merrett then continued, “I think you’re missing some of the point, here, Bobby.” Sacca and Hoffman would probably agree.


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Google Calls Out Mobile Phone Operators
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