Google CEO Critical Of Viacom

    July 13, 2007

Google CEO Eric Schmidt criticized media giant Viacom today while speaking with reporters at a hotel bar at the 25th Allen & Co. moguls meeting.

Schmidt said litigation was the foundation of Viacom, Reuters reported. "Viacom is a company built from lawsuits, look at their history," Schmidt said early Friday. "Look who they hired as CEO: Philippe Dauman, who was the general counsel for Viacom for 20 years," he added.

Viacom is suing Google’s YouTube for $1 billion for copyright infringement for allowing clips of popular programs such as The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Colbert Report and South Park to be hosted on the video sharing site.

Schmidt referenced Viacom’s 1989 $2.4 billion antitrust suit against Time Warner. The suit alleged that Time Warner’s HBO channel was trying to put Viacom’s Showtime out of business by threatening cable companies and studios to show favor towards HBO.

The suit was settled out of court in 1992 and as part of the settlement Time Warner paid $75 million and purchased a cable system owned by Viacom for above market price. Time Warner also agreed to distribute Showtime more widely on their cable television system.