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Posted
16 November 2007 @ 9am

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Friday Morning

Even the Wall Street Journal can’t help but to write a fluffy, speculative piece about Google and the possibility that the company might bid for a piece of the cellphone spectrum. Looks like everybody is jumping on the bandwagon, but let’s take a close look at this piece.

The WSJ takes the fact that Google operates a free Wi-Fi network in Mountain View as evidence. Well, I guess that means that CBS is in the race for the spectrum auction as well:

Google, meanwhile, already is running a test version of an advanced wireless network at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, gaining operating experience that could come in handy if it wins the spectrum and decides to run a full-scale national mobile carrier, according to people familiar with the matter.

Is there really much you can learn about being a cell carrier from providing free Wi-Fi? I am ‘not familiar with the matter’ but I can’t help but think that there is a slight little difference between free Wi-Fi and running a cellphone network. If not, my neighbor would be doing it.

The rest of the evidence is similarly weak:

Android Software? Microsoft doesn’t make cell-phones.

Sells ads on Web sites accessed by phone? Makes you an ad company, but not a phone carrier.

Testing a wireless network at HQ? Good business practice, but no evidence for a nationwide roll-out.

Google isn’t a hardware company and it sure isn’t a cellphone carrier. Why would it get into this messy business? Apple wisely decided against it. I am sure Google will as well.

A STRONG SIGNAL

Google’s wireless initiatives could eventually lead to a national network.

• Developed Android software for mobile phones.

• Made Google applications — including email, chat and mapping — available on cellphones.

• Sells advertisements for certain Web sites accessed by cellphone.

• Enables users to do Web and business searches with cellphone browsers, by text message or with a call.

• Is testing an advanced wireless network at Google headquarters.

• Operates a free Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, Calif.

Looks like the WSJ isn’t above some Valleywaggish writing either…

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