Google chairman Eric Schmidt is sitting on a panel right now at eG8 Forum. The panel is moderated by Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen. For the CEO of a sleepy networking equipment company, Verwayyen is actually a good panel moderator, pushing back on some of the panelists’ non-answers.
The panel mostly includes telco CEOs, and Verwayyen asked Eric Schmidt about whether Google would make telcos irrelevant, and of course, Schmidt denied so. He said that demand for the value added services Google provides is what is driving the growth of the biggest telcos, so it’s a win-win ecosystem. “We’re incredibly co-dependent,” Schmidt says.
The coziness between Google and telcos is a big story, with Google limiting some applications of its “open” Android operating system to please telcos. Google was supposed to commoditize telcos and turn them into “dumb pipes” and instead it is showering them with love, in part to beat Apple, which is much less nice to its telco partners. This coziness was on full display today, with Schmidt calling telcos “my good friends” at one point.
When asked about government regulation, Schmidt also said that technology moves so fast that governments really shouldn’t try to regulate it because it will change too fast, and any problem will be solved by technology. “We’ll move much faster than any government,” Schmidt said.
This is a take we’re very sympathetic to, but coming from Google it’s also very self-serving, and somewhat creepy, given that Schmidt is basically saying that governments not only shouldn’t, but can’t regulate him.
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