Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Google Needs to 'fess Up

Google Unlikely to Make Own Web Browser


May 31,2006 | SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt on Wednesday told industry analysts the online search engine leader is unlikely to create its own Web browser, even though the company remains worried about being slighted by the next version of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer.

Responding to a question during a conference call, Schmidt said Google sees little need to develop its own browser because most people seem satisfied with Explorer and rivals such as Firefox, Apple Computer Inc.'s Safari and Opera.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google already has a search toolbar installed in Firefox as part of its partnership with the Mozilla open source software project that introduced the browser in 2004.

"We would not build a browser just for the fun of building a browser," Schmidt said.

What Google fails to tell the AP reporter is that it bankrolls FireFox and that people on Google's payroll are the primary developers of the browser. The only reason it doesn't declare formal ownership is because it allows them to play this shell game.

You know, this isn't about the browser. This is about honesty. Why doesn't Mr. Schmidt just say "Google pays for FireFox development," and provide some transparency about their role in supporting it? People should know up front Google's financial stake in this product.

Companies get a lot of mileage off the popular assumption that Microsoft's products are inferior and their business practices are illegal. It amazes me how many people presume that Google or Apple are not just profit-seeking self-interested business operations. Do you think they do what they do out of the goodness of their hearts? Please...

Good legislation, consumer-friendly regulations, and rigorous enforcement are necessities in business because consumers are stupid enough to believe the PR. Keep Microsoft honest, and its competitors, too.


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