You Simply Cannot Control A Good Band

Okay, you guessed it, we are not talking about Rock N Roll here...

I have been following the FCC 700Mhz auction very closely lately, as I feel that we are on the brink of a monumental shift in the way people think about hardware versus software, and the roles that each play in modern media consumption.

Yes, this blog is supposed to be about media and how it relates to advertising/marketing, but bear with me. I will talk a lot about this in the coming weeks, and trust me, this is all very relevant!

…and in this corner, weighing in at a market cap of 163.8 billion dollars, GOOGLE!

Let’s face it; no corporation’s main interest is to promote competition (especially when they are one of the competitors).

What sense would that make?

Still Google’s lobbyist’s in Washington fought (and won) to make sure the 700MHz spectrum that is to be auctioned in 2008 did not become a walled garden. Google did so under the guise of “open access”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not accusing Google of being disingenuous, however, Google is quite aware that they have superior software to the cable companies and the telco’s, and need to make sure they are not locked out of this network.

Here are the four things Google fought to protect:

  • Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;

  • Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize their handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;

  • Open services: third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and

  • Open networks: third parties (like Internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.

As Google expands its software offerings, and continues to redefine modern advertising, it is essential that they continue to grow the network on which their services can be leveraged and advertising can be contextually placed next to those services.

Google claims that winning this bout was a win for the consumer, and I would tend to agree however, no one can deny that Google too is a big winner in this matter.

…and in this corner, weighing in at a market cap of 123.6 billion dollars, VERIZON!

As Google defends the consumers, Verizon is seeking to defend the Constitution (shouldn’t they one serve the other?).

Verizon wireless is challenging the FCC for its open access ruling back in July 2007.

Verizon is on the record as saying that the auction,

“violates the U.S. Constitution, violates the Administrative Procedures Act... and is arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by the substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law”

While I disagree with this sentiment, Verizon’s sentiment is certainly understandable. After all, why would a company that makes money by charging access fees spend upwards of 10 billion dollars, only to share the purchase.

What Does All This Mean?

I would love to hear your opinion.

Many obvious things are changing in the media industry. From You Tube to Facebook to Tivo to XM, our mediated lives are different than ever before. The aforementioned are however a mere manifestation of fundamental shifts in the way we think about media, who owns the media, and if it is even possible for a corporation to control a portion of the media in the 21st century.

The fact is, the age of media control is ending, but the opportunity for media companies is greater than it has ever been, they just need to be a little creative.

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