It has been funny to watch Google squirm as the world calls it out for aggressively pursuing its own self-interest in the “net neutrality” clash.
It’s funny because Google’s attitude is so different from the last massive tech empire to aggressively pursue its own self-interest–Microsoft.
Microsoft was always straightforward about doing everything it could to gouge its competitors’ eyes out. Google, meanwhile, is devoting enormous energy to demonstrating that, despite appearances to the contrary, it actually has everyone else’s best interests in mind.
For an illustration of the difference, consider that famous (and possibly apocryphal) remark Bill Gates supposedly made in a meeting with Netscape in the mid-1990s, something along the lines of “We can buy you or we can kill you.” (Microsoft chose the latter route.) Consider the chair Steve Ballmer threw in his legendary tantrum about Google. Consider Microsoft’s “link and lever” strategy to leverage its Windows monopoly and achieve world domination.
It wasn’t until Microsoft was dragged into court, found to have violated anti-trust laws, and slapped with huge penalties that it began to change the way it presented itself to the world (as a kinder, gentler awesomely powerful and profitable monopoly).
Google, meanwhile, has become almost as powerful as Microsoft was in its heydey, but it has done it while trying to adhere to its pre-IPO mantra “Don’t be evil”–a mantra that would preclude a wildly dominant company from trying to gouge its competitors’ eyes out.
In short, the difference between Microsoft’s approach to being an evil empire and Google’s approach to it is that Google wants to rule the world and be liked.
Microsoft, meanwhile, didn’t give a damn how much everyone hated it. As far as Microsoft was concerned, its competitors could bitch in co-miserating poverty while Microsoft laughed all the way to the bank.
Channels: evil, google, Microsoft, net neutrality