What’s Worrying Google’s Sergey Brin

He thinks threats to the open Internet are getting 'scary'

In the Guardian newspaper, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin on Sunday brooded about the prospects for the Internet, especially regarding ominous political trends. He even called these developments “scary.”

First of all, Brin thinks the environment is so poisonous that a company like Google wouldn’t be possible to create today. Keep in mind that the company’s worldview is to have open systems. That’s really at the core of its search engine. That is, users go to Google to find whatever information they need, and then click links to go to relevant sites.

Brin thinks companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook are anti-open. For example, Apple makes it nearly impossible to use anything but its hardware, operating system and applications. Likewise, Facebook has an all-inclusive environment and rigorous rules for building on its platform. It even gets 30% of all revenues generated from its top gaming partners like Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA).

Google, on the other hand, makes it extremely easy to build and launch apps on its Android system. If anything, it’s a “Wild West” environment.

But Brin has even more concerns. For example, he’s troubled by government-sponsored censorship, which has made it difficult for Google to operate in countries like China. After all, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is the biggest search engine in the country, not Google.

Oh, and Brin isn’t happy with Hollywood, either. Consider that the executives want to keep a tight grip on their intellectual property. They certainly don’t want to suffer the devastation that the Internet has unleashed on the music industry.

So with massive anti-open systems, government censorship and controlled entertainment content, it certainly will be hard for Google to fulfill its mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” In fact, it seems like Brin is telegraphing that his company is facing big troubles. And that’s after a quarterly earnings report last week that was uninspiring.

But the irony is that the company also announced convoluted 2-for-1 stock split that was really meant for Brin and his co-founder CEO, Larry Page, to maintain absolute control over the company, much like China itself. In the end, I guess openness isn’t absolute.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”“All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2012/04/whats-worrying-googles-sergey-brin/.

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