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Google Ends Silence On C Block Auction

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the bidding-against-ourselves dept.

Google 162

Phurge found a post on the Google Policy Blog in which they lift the cone of silence that had been imposed by regulation over the recently concluded FCC spectrum auction. As some had speculated, Google was in it mainly to force some openness into the wireless industry. "Based on the way that the bidding played out, our participation in the auction helped ensure that the C Block met the reserve price. In fact, in ten of the bidding rounds we actually raised our own bid — even though no one was bidding against us — to ensure aggressive bidding on the C Block. In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the US Treasury, while making sure that the openness conditions would be applied to the ultimate licensee."

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Smart Move? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964550)

So they artificially bumped up the price to make AT&T and Verizon have to pay more?

Very nice!

Re:Smart Move? (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964996)

Welcome to e-bay!

Re:Smart Move? (2, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965018)

So they artificially bumped up the price to make AT&T and Verizon have to pay more?

Very nice!
Yup. "Do no Evil" does not mean "Don't screw your opponents".

Brilliant!

Re:Smart Move? (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965148)

Not to slam Google, but would an "evil" corporation actually admit to doing evil?

Shouldn't we take a closer look at corporations that specifically say, "we do no evil"?

Sorta like when paper companies create commercials on how earth friendly they are right before a new paper mill is built or when they are under investigation for discharging too much pollution.

Re:Smart Move? (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965740)

Shouldn't we take a closer look at corporations that specifically say, "we do no evil"?

Yes. However, it should be noted that Google doesn't say that. They say they have a goal of "Do no evil", they have never, to the best of my knowledge, claimed that they never do.

Of course, that's a point in there favor. It's easier to trust a person who says they try not to sin than one who says they've never sinned. The first assertion is much more believable. The second one is probably lying.

Re:Smart Move? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965982)

It's easier to trust a person who says they try not to sin than one who says they've never sinned. The first assertion is much more believable. The second one is probably lying.

Well unless we are talking about the devil, shouldn't "try not to do evil" be assumed?

If someone approached you in real life and said "I try NOT to do evil", wouldn't you feel a little creeped out? I mean why is he TRYING not to do evil?

Re:Smart Move? (4, Insightful)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966092)

Well unless we are talking about the devil, shouldn't "try not to do evil" be assumed?

I'd say that's true of individuals (people), but we're talking about corporations here. Corporations are legal entities, but they don't have a conscience. Many corporate boards (dare I say most) use only the law to determine if they should or shouldn't do something. If its not illegal, its fair game. Morals and ethics usually don't factor into their decisions, unless its specifically stated in their bylaws or policies.

Am I wrong?

Re:Smart Move? (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965392)

Well, I don't know a lot about the details, but it sounds like the idea is to make the wireless companies bid for the spectrum under the current conditions of sale.

I'm guessing (without reading TFA of course) that the scenario went like this. If the reserve price hadn't been met, then the carriers could say, "obviously this spectrum has no market value unless it is for creating a closed network." Then the FCC would declare the auction void and conduct a new auction under conditions more favorable to the carriers and less favorable to the public.

Is stopping that scenario evil? Well, if Google had won, they'd have to put their money where their mouth was and become a wireless carrier themselves. They were hoping the industry would rather let their customers choose the hardware they wanted to use in this spectrum rather than to invite Google in as a competitor.

So it's a win all around. Google keeps the spectrum open for its servies and for its android partners; users get more choice in hardware and services, and the current providers don't have to worry about Google doing to them what they'd planned to do to Google. It's not as lucrative for the carriers as they hoped, but that's what competition is for. They'll make at least a normal profit, but not as much more as they'd have liked, and the public gets better services.

Re:Smart Move? (1)

djtachyon (975314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966122)

Well, if Google had won, they'd have to put their money where their mouth was and become a wireless carrier themselves.
I seriously doubt that. They probably would have just leased/resold the space to other companies.

Re:Smart Move? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965368)

So they artificially bumped up the price to make AT&T and Verizon have to pay more?
Haven't you figured out by now that corporations do not pay for things like that, their customers do?

If in fact their executive board paid for it out of their own pockets, off the books, that would be a most serious violation of accounting standards and the law.

Re:Smart Move? (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965502)

Haven't you figured out by now that corporations do not pay for things like that, their customers do?
Sort of. That would be 100% correct if corporations could always price their products and services however they wanted. The reality is that they can't really build everything into their pricing structure. In a free market economy, there are other factors such as competition and the law of supply and demand. Some costs do come out of a company's bottom line.

Interesting (1)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964574)

Interesting move on googles part, seems like a lot of work for nothing however. Maybe they are trying to pave the way for their new google phone, piggy-backing on somebody elses network?

Re:Interesting (2, Informative)

gladish (982899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964746)

What it sounds like they are saying is that they had no real interest in purchasing anything, just manipulating the pricing.

Re:Interesting (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965016)

They manipulated the pricing to reach a certain threshold. Once it's bought for a certain price the owner of the license must conform to certain rules of "openness" for what can used on that spectrum.

Re:Interesting (2, Interesting)

gladish (982899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965644)

Yes, suprisingly, I read the blog post. I'm just a little ambivalent with the strategy that they used. It seems by the wording of the article that they really didn't care whether they won or not, actually suggesting they didn't even want to win. They simply wanted to "manipulate" a market. Let's say you and I are at the Toyota dealer and you want the last car on the lot. Instead of letting you get it for the fair value (whatever that is), I decide to bid over the fair value just so you have to pay more. Why? Well maybe I think the Toyota salesman will look favorable at me the next time I'm shopping for a Toyota. Or maybe I just have so much money that I don't care if I have to pay over fair value. I just want the chance to make you pay more for it.

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966180)

But they DID want something. There were certain openness requirements that would only happen if the bidding moved past the $4.6 billion threshold.

In effect Google was saying "we want the block to pass the $4.6 billion mark so badly that we'll pay it ourselves if we need to"

Once bidding had passed that mark, they didn't really care if they or someone else footed the final bill. The thing they wanted had come true.

Android phones coming this year (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964602)

The real take away from this press release is that Google is expecting that the first phones based on Android will be released later this year. That is good news for those who are interested in open platforms and enjoy hacking. link [google.com]

I wonder how happy Verizon's stockholders are going to be when they find out that Google was bidding up the price for essentially no reason at all and Verizon jumped in on top of that. not too bad, it seems [yahoo.com]

Re:Android phones coming this year (1, Interesting)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964668)

Just small correction. I would say that if Android is an open system, you don't hack it :) iPhone related might qualify as hacking, but Android is not being *hacked* it is being used in the open design as Google intended.

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964804)

No, if it was how Google intended it to be used, then that is how Google would have used it that way. Permission or not, it's still being hacked.
The difference is that Google wants it to be hacked.

Re:Android phones coming this year (2)

boethius78 (1002975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964818)

Depends on your definitions of hacking and cracking. An open design would allow for lots of hacking, but the cracking potential would be a tad stunted.

Re:Android phones coming this year (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964840)

Just a small correction, but you do hack it http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=hack [princeton.edu]

(v) hack, hack on (fix a computer program piecemeal until it works) "I'm not very good at hacking but I'll give it my best"

You are looking for

(v) crack (gain unauthorized access computers with malicious intentions) "she cracked my password"; "crack a safe"

http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=crack [princeton.edu]

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964980)

I remember people arguing about the term "hack" 10 years ago. Let's just give up on trying to force correctness in its usage.

I hacked your mom last night.

Re:Android phones coming this year (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965060)

How can you hack his mom? She's an open system!

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965554)

Even open systems can be exploited.

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

jwo7777777 (100313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965238)

You hack!

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965978)

I'm OK with people using the term "hack" to mean "crack."

But don't tell me I can't hack on my software. Hack isn't the first word to have multiple meanings, it's easy to tell what someone means by the context.

Re:Android phones coming this year (2, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965040)

What about gaining unauthorized access for a non-malicious intent? i.e. jailbreaking the iPhone, making backups of DVDs, disarming a bomb, etc. Seems like in this case you're "fixing" the problem which is the design of the thing itself, so that's a hack. In the case of Android there's nothing to "fix" to open it up, so you're pretty much just developing instead of hacking. (And in software development, that's a good thing. No one likes a hack unless its necessary).

Re:Android phones coming this year (5, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965492)

"Hack" in the common parlance is pretty much "to break (into) something." People who insist on other definitions of hack generally push the word "crack/cracker" to refer to this type of black-hat activity.

"Hack" in the classic MIT parlance was a nifty programming trick, or maybe just something really clever. Some people refer to awesome pranks as "hacks" (a compliment to the prankster), although normally it refers to some particularly elegant algorithm or code block.

"Hack" as referring to bad code, as in "hack-job" or "I hacked it together in three hours" is generally called a "kludge" (KLOOJ) by these people.

Maybe someone who actually went-slash-goes there could help out my amateur etymology.

Re:Android phones coming this year (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965208)

From what I can tell, quite a bit of the trading in Verizon is playing on FiOS, which is doing pretty well, at least in the places they have managed(or bothered, depending on your POV) to make it available.

j public ends silence re: domestic terrorists (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964630)

not likely any time soon, but the sentiment is thick enough to carry some weight. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:j public ends silence re: domestic terrorists (1)

rochi (930552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965252)

I've gotta ask, what the hell is this? just spam or what.

So how does this work? (5, Interesting)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964648)

From TFA:
"As you probably know by now, Google didn't pick up any spectrum licenses in the auction. Nonetheless, partly as a result of our bidding, consumers soon should have new freedom to get the most out of their mobile phones and other wireless devices."

also,

"But it was clear, then and now, that Verizon Wireless ultimately was motivated to bid higher (and had far more financial incentive to gain the licenses)."

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?

Re:So how does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964892)

I thought that they bid up only when they were the only ones in the race (meaning the price hadn't gone much higher than the reserve).

Re:So how does this work? (3, Informative)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964976)

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?

I think spectrum price and end-user price are way too many steps removed to really have a direct effect. Especially since the wireless market has actual, fierce competition

Re:So how does this work? (1)

BECoole (558920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966052)

How is $80+/month for 2 phones and 500 minute competitive? They pay next to zero for each marginal phone. Now if it was $10/phone unlimited, then I could see how you may say it is competitive.

Re:So how does this work? (1)

cshay (79326) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965002)

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?

The price that Verizon can charge consumers in the marketplace is not related to the price that they paid for the spectrum. It's a competitive consumer marketplace.

Re:So how does this work? (2, Insightful)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965288)

The price that Verizon can charge consumers in the marketplace is not related to the price that they paid for the spectrum. It's a competitive consumer marketplace.

Most services Verizon offers aren't really in competitive markets. If they were, their costs would be the largest factor in the prices they charge.

Monopolies and oligopolies are when the price charged for something is independent of the actual cost.

Sunk costs and Consumer costs. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966136)

This is in response to several posts here concerning whether the auction costs are going to affect the consumer costs.

The biggest question is how much competition they will have. This newly reallocated spectrum will primarily be used for some sort of wireless broadband. The bandwidth available will make existing 2G, 3G wireless technologies look like a joke, so these are not serious competitors. It will overlap with the hardline broadband market somewhat, so there will be some competition there. But the largest competition will come from other wireless broadband providers. IE the various companies that picked up chunks of spectrum in this last auction are by and large the only ones that will be major players in this new market.

Now if there was no competition whatsoever, then Verizon would charge whatever the market would bear, and would continue doing so long after they had recouped whatever sunk costs they had. However, there is going to be some competition, so they won't be able to get away with this completely.

If there was fierce competition, they might continue lower their prices to meet the competitors with no regard to the short-term affect on recouping their investment, just to get marketshare in the hope it will generate more revenue in the future. But this is unlikely to happen either, given the limited number of players.

Their competitors will have their own sunk costs, and shareholders that are eager to see a return on this investment. How low they are willing to go in a price war will absolutely take this into consideration. So raising the price of one bidder would not effect the final price to the consumer that much, and a company that insanely overbid would suffer in the stock market eventually. But raising the floor price for all the bidders would have an effect on the price to the consumer.

Without knowing more details about how Google placed it's bids in the C-Block once the reserve was met, then it is hard to know how many companies were affected by it.

Re:So how does this work? (2, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965204)

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?
That was my first thought reading the summary - bidding-up just to raise the final price is not a cool thing to do, and does not benifit citizens/tax-payers/consumers, as it will increase the cost of anything deployed in the C Block, and delay uptake. However ...

Google's top priority heading into the auction was to make sure that bidding on the so-called "C Block" reached the $4.6 billion reserve price that would trigger the important "open applications" and "open handsets" license conditions. We were also prepared to gain the nationwide C Block licenses at a price somewhat higher than the reserve price ....

We're glad that we did. Based on the way that the bidding played out, our participation in the auction helped ensure that the C Block met the reserve price. In fact, in ten of the bidding rounds we actually raised our own bid -- even though no one was bidding against us -- to ensure aggressive bidding on the C Block.
It does sound like they were only bidding up against themselves when the price was below the reserve - but I don't know why they would bid below the reserve to begin with if they were genuinely determined to see the reserve met, and genuinely willing to purchase the spectrum at that price.

In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the U.S. Treasury.
I still find it extremely odd that they would mention this as a "good thing" at all. Seeing as how the number of rounds were not fixed (bidding continued until a round occurred with no increases in bids), the bidding strategy they described was not the best way to obtain their stated goals - they should have placed their first bid at the reserve price and then not bid higher until/unless someone else outbid them. Unless they were bidding themselves up above the reserve because had an unstated goal of running up the price for their competitors.

Re:So how does this work? (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965276)

In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the U.S. Treasury.
I still find it extremely odd that they would mention this as a "good thing" at all. Seeing as how the number of rounds were not fixed (bidding continued until a round occurred with no increases in bids), the bidding strategy they described was not the best way to obtain their stated goals - they should have placed their first bid at the reserve price and then not bid higher until/unless someone else outbid them. Unless they were bidding themselves up above the reserve because had an unstated goal of running up the price for their competitors.
It's possible that either the auction rules prohibited you from making large bid increments, or that the bids were anonymous and that if they jumped straight to $4.6b it would be too obvious who they were.

Why underbid? (2, Interesting)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965390)

Because if they won the nationwide C block, they could enact "open applications" and "open handsets" rules themselves. The government wasn't going to stop them from using their shiny new nationwide C block if their lower bid was the final bid.

Re:So how does this work? (3, Insightful)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965210)

Step 1: Google gets FCC to adopt "openness conditions". These conditions will be dropped if the auction fails to meet the reserve price, so it's in Google's interest to make sure the reserve price is met.

Step 2: Google bids on the auction, but only until the reserve price is met. This ensures that the openness conditions stick, whether they end up winning the auction or not.

Step 3: Google stops bidding, and Verizon outbids them. From Google's perspective, they have what they came for, and actually buying the spectrum isn't relevant.

The confusion is that apparently the auction is sufficiently arcane that Google had to keep the bidding up themselves to get the price above the reserve price (the auction didn't start at the reserve price), but that once it got there Verizon did in fact outbid them.

Re:So how does this work? (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965224)

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?

You're talking Verizon. Their pricing never is based on cost, only on what they think they can get away with charging.

My favorite is the random fees on Verizon Wireless bills that go straight to Verizon that get lumped in with the other fees.

Re:So how does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965266)

isn't it worth paying a little more for open access?

Re:So how does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965534)

Verizon is going to charge the consumer as much as they can no matter how much they paid in the auction. What company is going to say, "We can charge the consumer $50 per month, but since we got a good deal in the auction, we will charge them $40 instead?" No matter what, Verizon is going to find the balance between monthly payment and number of customers to get as much money as possible. So the price of the auction eventually comes out of Verizon's profits.

Re:So how does this work? (2, Interesting)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965820)

Now, if they pushed Verizon to bid higher to win the contract won't they just charge the end users more?
Myself, I am happy they did it, even if it drives prices up. I'd rather pay more for an open solution than have just another closed one, even if it is C-block. Openness in this space can transform the country.

Implicitly (5, Funny)

Rydia (556444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964650)

Slashdot believes whatever google says; all other corporations lying scum.

Film at 11.

Re:Implicitly (2, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964856)

Well, this is kinda what everyone thought Google was doing, so it's more of a "Google admits to what had been expected." Than a "Big announcement from Google: they do no evil."

Re:Implicitly (3, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964978)

Google says your mom does donkey shows in Tijuana.

Re:Implicitly (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965418)

Really? What were your search terms....? Not that I'm interested in that kind of thing. Oh boy.

Wow... is there no good that Google can't do? (5, Funny)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964682)

Helping pay off the National Debt. What will they take credit for next?

Re:Wow... is there no good that Google can't do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964790)

At least they can't claim credit for inventing the internet, that's all Albert Gore.

In other news:
Gore serves as a Senior Advisor to Google Inc.

Re:Wow... is there no good that Google can't do? (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964964)

Helping pay off the National Debt. What will they take credit for next?

I hoping for peace and prosperity to countries harmed by the current administration. I can dream can't I? ;)

Re:Wow... is there no good that Google can't do? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966186)

a Winnebago!

Re:Wow... is there no good that Google can't do? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966256)

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon it starts to add up.

Open in theory (2, Interesting)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964688)

It seems logical the telcos will try to hamper the unwanted participants on their network, just like they did with the DSL resellers. Nothing like being the operator.

A little too altruistic (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964692)

Yeah, I believe the company wants to, and does good things. But let's face it, they're in it to make their shareholders money, not save the world.

If they can save the world in the process, then good, but they're in it for the buck... and IMO that's the way it should be. I don't want a nanny for a company, I want them to make me shit to play with.

Re:A little too altruistic (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964850)

Didn't they specifically make it blindingly clear that by buying google stock you're agreeing that you're in it for the long run? I thought that was the whole point behind the google stock value was that they're looking at the long term and not worrying about short term gains.

Re:A little too altruistic (4, Insightful)

daveo0331 (469843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965410)

All companies are theoretically like that, since stock prices are based on the net present value of future dividends. CEOs only started being short sighted when stock options encouraged them to fool the market into overvaluing the shares in the short run, at the expense of the long run value of the company -- but the long run didn't matter since the options would be cashed in long before then. So companies would do things like cut back too far on R&D -- hurting the company in the long run, but boosting short term profits and, because traders were assuming the increased profitability was permanent, boosting the stock price as well. Basically it was a way for CEOs to use their options to scam the shareholders.

Re:A little too altruistic (2, Informative)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965774)

They aren't trying to play this off as altruistic. It's obviously in Google's interests to have wireless be more open, so that they can sell their devices to anyone regardless of their phone company. The entry says this.

So Basically (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964738)

"We went in acting like we were all high and mighty, then we realized that despite our awesome business strategy of selling stock and ads, we were nothing but punks. We simply couldn't compete with the big boys. Now we're going to act like we got what we wanted, like we were patriotic (by ensuring Uncle Sam got more $$$), and like we were heroes for the people (by ensuring the C block remains "open and free")."

deine: Shill bidder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964772)

So basically google admits to playing the role of shill [wikipedia.org] in a public auction?

Re:deine: Shill bidder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965090)

Kinda, but they were bidding primarily to make it so that the block was "open and free". It just so happens the thing the wanted to have didn't cost them any money in the end.

Re:deine: Shill bidder (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965518)

No, shill bidders are in the employ of the seller. Since Google WOULD actually have to buy the licenses if they had won at that price, they were simply risking more and more money in order to drive the price up. Not even ebay would oppose that.

Re:deine: Shill bidder (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965928)

According to your link, Google would've had to be working with the FCC for it to be shilling.

eBay (5, Funny)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964780)

Don't you get banned from eBay for doing that?

Re:eBay (2, Insightful)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965118)

Don't you get banned from eBay for doing that?
Government Auction vs eBay. On eBay lying, cheating , and manipulation of the system are banned to protect the consumer. In government auctions they don't give a damn about the consumer; so lying, cheating, and manipulation are the norm.

Re:eBay (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965600)

OTOH, in government auctions you can't sniped...oh, wait ...

Re:eBay (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965824)

Government Auction vs eBay. On eBay lying, cheating , and manipulation of the system are banned to protect the consumer. In government auctions they don't give a damn about the consumer; so lying, cheating, and manipulation are the norm.
and as a tax payer, I'm glad that they do. As in this case the "consumers" are large multibillion dollar corporations.

Re:eBay Yeah, you do, but in this case, (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965516)

They gave the government extra money. Now, somebody can do a Google SketchUp Pro of an enlarged treasury vault.... with all the nifty little details...

Re:eBay Yeah, you do, but in this case, (2, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966172)

Is that treasury vault where the government keeps the paperwork from their debts to China?

If it were an ebay auction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964806)

...wouldn't such a move be considered unethical?

I think google is overstepping its boundaries in protecting "our" interests.

Google you just did evil (4, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22964852)

In fact, in ten of the bidding rounds we actually raised our own bid -- even though no one was bidding against us -- to ensure aggressive bidding on the C Block. In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the US Treasury ...

But ultimately the winners are going to have to make their money back by sticking it to the consumer. The bidding system is basically a government tax on something that's free, the airways. So the revenues Google so kindly helped raise for the Feds are ultimately gonna be paid for by the end user.

Re:Google you just did evil (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964920)

The bidding system is basically a government tax on something that's free, the airways

They are not bidding on free airwaves.

They are bidding on a government-protected monopoly of a certain spectrum.

The "owners" of this spectrum license will call upon the government to prosecute others who brodcast on this spectrum.

Re:Google you just did evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22964974)

Exactly. It also forces out any type of small players for the wireless spectrums and decreases competition so that only the very rich can compete. It totally goes against capitalism to do this, it's really stupid.

I would have expected more savvy behavior from Google.

Re:Google you just did evil (2, Insightful)

howdoesth (1132949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965292)

Exactly. It also forces out any type of small players for the wireless spectrums and decreases competition so that only the very rich can compete. It totally goes against capitalism to do this, it's really stupid. I would have expected more savvy behavior from Google.
So your preferred model would be to have absolutely no spectrum regulation, interference be damned? Yes, only the rich were able to compete for the C block, but I don't think anyone who can't afford to put down a few billion dollars on a spectrum license is in any position to build out a nationwide wireless network. There were hundreds of local spectrum licenses in this auction which the smaller players were able to bid on and obtain. Those smaller players are still pretty rich compared to you or I, granted, but you can't build a radio tower with happy thoughts and bubblegum.

Re:Google you just did evil (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965688)

but you can't build a radio tower with happy thoughts and bubblegum.

Throw in a few dozen metal coathangers and we can get started on construction.

Re:Google you just did evil (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965786)

well I'm a little curious about this. Was there ever any consideration to selling the spectrum on a regional & local basis instead of the whole damn thing to one or two corporations? what about the small time players in rural minnesota or michigan that have a business idea but are now forced to pay Verizon usage fees for a resource verizon will never use in those markets to begin with?

The way I'm looking at this situation is that the public just had a shared resource stolen from them by the fat cats on wall street...

Re:Google you just did evil (2, Informative)

howdoesth (1132949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966064)

That's exactly what was done with the A, B, and E blocks. The fact is that there exist nationwide players interested in buying up nationwide licenses, and so rather than forcing them to do so by stitching together a bunch of regional licenses, the C & D blocks were set up especially for them. Of course, the D block was made a bit too specifically for a single bidder so when Frontline couldn't get any money the block didn't sell, but the C block went over so well that it was all anyone could talk about and people like yourself were left thinking that it was all that was auctioned off.

Re:Google you just did evil (3, Interesting)

wcbarksdale (621327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965080)

The bidding system is basically a government tax on something that's free, the airways.
The airways are "free" only in the same sense that natural resources like oil, gold, and lumber are: the government may not have paid anything for them, but they are still in limited supply. Should the government not charge for mining rights on public land?

Re:Google you just did evil (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965084)

It will be interesting to how this admission of gaming the auction system plays out.

Verizon could file a complaint.

-- and/or --

Google may find itself in hot water, if this admission means that Google violated any federal bidding rules...

Re:Google you just did evil (5, Insightful)

Shishak (12540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965116)

But ultimately the winners are going to have to make their money back by sticking it to the consumer. The bidding system is basically a government tax on something that's free, the airways. So the revenues Google so kindly helped raise for the Feds are ultimately gonna be paid for by the end user.
Are you naive enough to believe that if Verizon Wireless paid less for the license they would drop the price to the consumer? The consumer will be charged, and will pay what the market will bear based on competition. This is not related to the license cost. If Verizon paid too much for the license and they can't make a return on their investment while still being competitive in the market then that is their problem. What Google did was feint competition to keep everyone honest with their bids.

Re:Google you just did evil (2, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965466)

This is not related to the license cost.
Exactly. The only way to determine a price that actually works in the marketplace is supply and demand. That is why communism was and is always doomed to fail because it has no functioning price system to direct efficient market activities. The labor theory of value [wikipedia.org] , or the notion that the price of a good or service is proportional to the amount of labor or capital that went into producing it, is wrong and the parent is right. Verizon will charge the maximum price that the market is willing to bear no matter how little or how much they paid for the spectrum licensing.

Re:Google you just did evil (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965286)

That's somewhat true, but not entirely. Pricing is often more complicated than people think. When you buy something, you aren't necessarily being charged cost plus some fixed percentage.

So to avoid getting theoretical, my point is that Verizon has probably done a calculation already of what price will maximize their profits. So let's say (hypothetically) they can provide service for $10/month and make no profit, or they can charge $200/month and make $190 profit. Why wouldn't they just charge $200/month (or more)? Because they wouldn't have as many customers, so they'll make less profit overall.

That's just how these calculations work. So if I can sell a product and make $10,000 profit, but can only sell 2 units-- or I can sell it cheaply enough that I can sell 2 million units, but only make $2 per sale, I'm better off selling it cheaply. So companies try to figure out what the optimal pricing of a product is, where raising the price will lower your overall profits by diminishing the volume of sales, and lowering the price will lower your overall profits because you won't be making enough more sales to make up for the loss of profit per unit.

So my point is, there is probably an optimal price Verizon expects to charge on wireless internet access, regardless of how much it actually costs them to provide this service. If they could somehow provide this service for free, they wouldn't pass those savings on to consumers. Likewise, if providing the service becomes more expensive, there's still no sense in raising your prices beyond the optimal level, because you'll only end up making less money.

I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965366)

> But ultimately the winners are going to have to make their money back by sticking it to the consumer. The bidding system is basically a government tax on something that's free, the airways. So the revenues Google so kindly helped raise for the Feds are ultimately gonna be paid for by the end user.

Then just making money is evil because money has to come from somewhere.

Anyhow, the openness they bought with this is more than worthwhile to me. They're breaking down one of the main monopoly barriers that causes the US to get services and prices that are completely inferior to the rest of the civilized world.

Yes and no... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965422)

Yes, they bid the spectrum up to the threshold, but it went far beyond that. Further, they stood to have to make good on their bids. And, of course, they were not the owner of the airwaves, so the bidding can only be though of as foolishness. One should wonder more why the government "allowed" such self-raising bids in their auction - it's never done in a traditional auction format.

As for yuour concern, it's true that the winners will need to charge more to make back the money, but in reality it's a small fraction of their operating costs. I suspect they pay out a higher percentage to their retailers (who do excactly nothing for that money after the customer walks out the door) than they do for this spectrum.

Re:Google you just did evil (1)

blakbeard0 (1246212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965426)

The implicit assumption here is that Verizon will price their product differently based on how much they paid in the auction. Public companies are obligated the maximize their profits for their shareholders at every given time regardless of what they did in the past. If the Verizon paid less in the auction, the difference would go to Verizon's shareholders, not the public (or end user) as you imply.

Re:Google you just did evil (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22966230)

Last I checked, shareholders were members of the subset "public"

Re:Google you just did evil (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965844)

And if they didn't, we have another closed solution. Yay?

Re:Google you just did evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965894)

Not really. The winners are going to stick it to the consumer either way. This just affects how much profit they make.

I'll believe it when... (5, Interesting)

icejai (214906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965038)

... the winning company actually *implements* the "intended" level of openness and has it in their terms-of-use section in their contracts.

A popular thing for telecoms to do these days seems to be re-interpreting words in contracts. "Unlimited access" is re-interpreted to mean "Unlimited connection time", even though there are at most 744 hours per month. "Unlimited internet service" is re-interpreted to mean "unlimited, as long as you don't transfer more than XXGB a month". I don't even want to get into what Comcast redefined to get their computer-impersonating policies to fly. Companies are redefining words like it's going out of fashion.

Google may be cheering and patting each other on back for a job well done, but to be honest, I don't think they've achieved anything they've set out to do. All they've done is get the FCC to say "Oh yeah, and the network must be open to other devices", while everyone nods "M-hm, oh yes of course" while looking at their toes.

Going so far as telling everyone how clever they were the first opportunity allowed seems a bit premature. The network's not up, the company's services aren't for sale, the consumer-end terms-of-use contracts aren't drafted, so what exactly are they cheering about when they got a telecom company to say "Okay, we'll 'allow' 'open' 'devices' and 'open' 'applications'"?

Fraud is good, fraud is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965054)

It's always good to see someone admit when they're being deceitful.
In the US, it's okay to lie, as long as you admit it later.

Re:Fraud is good, fraud is right (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965654)

Let me correct it for you:

In the US, it's okay to lie as long as you admit to misspeaking about it later.

Not buying it (1, Flamebait)

Thai-Pan (414112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965056)

Uhhhhhhh yeah right.

"Really, we just bid billions of dollars for something we didn't really want out of the goodness of our hearts. Honestly, we didn't even want it, that's the real reason why we didn't win. Really. Come on. I mean it."

I think Google generally has a lot of good intent, but this claim smells like BS to me.

Re:Not buying it (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965892)

Why else would they push the FCC to add the openness rules? And then out-bid themselves?

Openness is in Googles self-interest (Android anyone?), I don't see anyone claiming it's out of the goodness of their hearts.

Open-ness is Evil? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965096)

Just curious how the Google=Evil crowd feels about this move on google's part? Haven't seen it mentioned so far.

Pricing Telecom Into the Old Boys' Club (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965156)

And now we see exactly how the US telecom market is designed to push operating costs above a high threshold that only giant corps can afford, to keep anyone but the limited number of incumbent competitors out of the market. Even a rich newcomer like Google finds its only option is to wiggle within the rules to try to force some of those "usual suspects" into throwing some openness crumbs back a the market.

... and on that day, you will truly meet The Man. (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22965232)

Someone's been reading The Art of War :)

This info had to come out eventually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22965804)

As anyone who has ever seen Get Smart will tell you, the Cone of Silence never works.

Why want a C Block? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22966082)

They are always breaking my game.
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