05 August 2010

Verizon + Google = Western Union + Associated Press

This report of talks between Verizon, who operates one of the largest Tier 1 ISPs, and Google,arguably the largest provider of Internet content, is eerily reminiscent of the deal between Western Union and the Associated Press. You can read the background here, but the basic story outline is as follows:

1) As early as 1846, newspapers saw the economic benefit of sharing the cost of gathering and sending news from different locations. Instead of having one reporter for each newspaper in each location, they needed only to have one reporter in each location.

2) As telegraph emerged as an important information transmission medium, newspapers saw the advantage of using this to distribute news more quickly

3) Telegraph became economically concentrated (as infrastructure industries tend to do) and the economics of newsgathering also led to concentration

4) By 1870, WU was a de facto monopoly and AP was the dominant news gathering agency

5) WU, with agents in every town, had the infrastructure to enter the newsgathering business, and AP generated enough traffic to sustain a private or even rival telegraph network.

6) Instead of entering each other's markets, they basically entered into an exclusivity and non-compete agreement. WU would not get into newsgathering, and AP would not build or use another telegraph system (see this for the gory details)

Now, substitute "Verizon" for "WU" and "Google" for "AP", change the dates, and do you now get something like the NYT story cited above?

1 comment:

Cheap toll free said...

That's one BIG deal between Verizon and Google!