Friday, August 3, 2007

Drum Beats : Yes, Free Cell Phone Service

I'm not real big on saying I told ya so, but in this case, I guess there is not much else to say. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal article on Google's cell phone ambitions reveals exactly what the message has been at the center of my drum beating for some time. Yes, Google not only has hope to enter the cell phone world, but it has a strategy that is going to neutralize and all but eliminate their competition.

Not only are they currently aggressively soliciting cell phone manufacturers to adopt their format until they can get their own phone happening, but Amol Sharma and Kevin Delaney uncover the aspect of Google's Master Plan that guarantees their future supremacy: "The prize for Google: the potential to broker ads on the mobile phones, complementing the huge ad business it has built online. Google even envisions a phone service one day that is free of monthly subscription charges and supported entirely through ad revenue, people familiar with the matter say."

I hope you noticed that part about "free monthly subscription." What is this going to do to the cell phone industry? Well, if you were offering widgets to a customer for a dollar and your neighbor was offering the same widget for free, who do you think is going to get more customers? It is as simple as that.

And in case you are a late-comer and have not had the chance to hear me in stereo, the other drum I am beating says that your new Google cell phone, with your permanent individualized IP address, I mean, cell phone number, will come equipped with a gps capability that lo and behold will be able to be tracked and can be displayed on Google Earth.

Do you remember Neil Young's song, "Ohio" back in the day? It goes, "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio."

I'm going to change that now, with no disrespect to Mr. Young, my man, to: "Ad revenue and Google's coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Own you with a free cell phone. Own you with a free cell phone......"

Yes the article confirms my voiced suspicions about the gps danger, when discussing Google's specification requirements with potential phone manufacturers, "Google suggests the phones could include Global Positioning System technology that identifies where people are."

Such an include would indeed have a certain appeal, but what if, as part of the "free subscription service" as mentioned above, you had to sign off and allow your positioning to be tracked and publicized? That is where this is headed. And if all other carriers are put out of business, what choices will there be?

"Own you with a free cell phone..."

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