The CEO of Spanish telecom company Telefonica might soon try to obtain some money from Google and its rivals. Cesar Alierta said today that search engines' popularity creates something of a burden for his organization, and that he'd like Telefonica to share in their profits.
As reported by John W. Daly, Alierta told Spanish newspaper El Pais, "Search engines use our network, without paying anything for it." Installation, maintenance, and customer service costs are among the things for which he'd like to be compensated.
Considering that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are sure to ignore (or perhaps laugh off) this idea, it's necessary to consider where Alierta will go from here. Lawsuits always seem to represent an option, of course, or Telefonica could try to employ some traffic shaping techniques (which might well outrage consumers and cause the search engines to file their own suits).
Or - we're not trying to sensationalize anything - the whole issue could get dropped if Alierta finds that his proposal doesn't have any traction. Daly wrote, "El Pais reports Alierta is the first CEO of a carrier to openly declare he wants to send bills to content providers."
So far, neither side's hinted at making another move.