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SBC Chief Declares War On Google, Vonage

It appears that SBC CEO Edward Whitacre has declared war on Google, Yahoo, Vonage, MSN --- in fact, virtually any site or service on the Web. Whitacre said to Business Week about Google, "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that." In other words, if the sites don't pay him an extortion fee, he'll block access to them.
Whitacre adds, "The Internet can't be free...because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!"

He also says, "There's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?"

Whitacre neglects to mention one extremely important fact: If it weren't for sites like Google and Yahoo, and services like Vonage, no one would bother to buy SBC broadband. Those companies are making billions of dollars in investments --- far more than SBC makes, in fact. So should SBC pay them because they create a demand for broadband service?

Let's hope Whitacre is just doing a bit of macho chest-pounding and posturing. It would be bad for everyone if he actually tried to extort money from Web sites and services who want to reach SBC customers.

In the long run, though, if he tried it, SBC would end up the loser. Do you really think he'd keep any customers if he wouldn't allow them to reach the most popular sites on the Internet?