In the immortal words of Michael Buffer: “Ladies and Gentlemen, for the nearly 200 potential bidders and the millions watching around the world, LLLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!” It looks like round one is over and the score card heavily favors Google. So what am I talking about? Yesterday bidding began on a government auction of radio airwaves valued at nearly $10 billion. Experts say it’s probably the most important spectrum auction the government has ever had. The auction involves several blocks of airwaves with varying applications. The block that interests Google is ideal for high speed data transmission and is capable of penetrating walls. So why has Google won the first round? Google successfully lobbied for an open-access condition in the auction, which requires the winner of the licenses to allow consumers to use any device or mobile software they choose on the new network as long as it sells for more than $4.6 billion. Then, Google entered the auction. Google doesn’t really care about controlling the airwaves. They simply want their customers to be able to use those airwaves to access Google products and services. Now all they have to do to accomplish their goal is stay in the fight long enough to get the price up to $4.6 billion. Google never ceases to amaze me. What an amazing company.
American Statesman, Business Section 1/24/08