GOOGLE & VERIZON: A CORPORATE DIVORCE WAITING TO HAPPEN?
Google and Verizon have been frolicking in bed together and they are the cusp of getting a convenience marriage according to very reputable press reports and a few blog paparazzis. All I can think about is the inevitable divorce and speculate about how long it will take and how messy it will be. And why? Because this marriage doesn’t have the blessings of the family and the community and the public. It’s like Jake and Vienna. The public hated Vienna so much that a marriage between the two was doomed before it even happened. Same with Google and Verizon. Nobody wants that marriage to work and if they have to, folks will declare a jihad just to bust the whole thing up.
A big reason for this is the fact that Google and Verizon want to take away other people’s babies well, put it this way: they allegedly want to end net neutrality. They want to fix it so that after they marry (and this is obviously going to be a high net worth marriage with lots of assets) less affluent people will be stuck with inferior Internet experiences. You’re going to have to pay to get invited to their party and once you’re in, you still have to pay to get the premium stuff. Or so the argument goes.
The problem for Google and Verizon is that people are very protective of Internet neutrality; they’d rather destroy this romance than have these two behemoths tie the knot and risk getting the shaft. There’s a huge backlash in the blogosphere. People are even writing petitions. Here is one I picked up from pcworld.com:
As a Google user, I am telling you, ‘Don’t be evil.’ The deal between Google and Verizon is evil, because it threatens the open Internet, which hundreds of millions of people rely on every day. Live up to your founding motto, walk away from this deal and save the Internet.
[Add your name]
Google evil? That may be a bit harsh. I think it’s more that Google is looking for love in all the wrong places. Google and Verizon are rumored to be 10 months into their clandestine relationship. They’ve been having all these secret trysts even though they are both denying it. I suspect they are being clandestine because they know that their relationship is a little bit taboo and so they are keeping things on the down low for now. But they can save themselves the headache and just break up right now. Tear up that marriage license and forget the nuptials because everybody knows it’s not going to work. If all else fails, the FCC will declare a monopoly of some sort and breaking up will be very costly and embarrassing. Especially for Google. With corporate divorces like civil divorces, some marriages are more divorce prone than others and this one is divorce prone.
For one thing, the way the Google/Verizon marriage will be structured is problematic from the start. With corporate divorces, marriages that are joint ventures seem more divorce prone than other types of business structures. Why is that? Je ne sais pas. But I was reading that joint ventures are intrinsically divorce prone. And it looks like this is going to be a joint venture. (Verizon, btw, is a joint venture with Vodafone.) For now, it is being called a “strategic partnership” whatever that actually means.
The thing with joint ventures is that they are like inter-faith marriages. People have the best intentions but things just don’t work out because there is not enough commonality in key areas. Added to the fact that the marriage just doesn’t have the blessings of the public, it is just doomed. Google, don’t do it.
Although “corporate divorces” among joint venture (JV) partners are frequent, JV managers are often caught off guard by the prospect of termination and are ill prepared to cope with the tensions and uncertainties associated with the breakdown of the relationship… Managers are advised to watch for warning signals revealing a fraying relationship. They need to pay particular attention to the asymmetry between the divorce initiator and partner, the repercussions of going public, and the impact of the aftermath on future strategic relationships. Jstor.org
I can tell you the repurcussions of going public will be bad for Google. It is a huge warning sign that there is so much animus against this union. It will be very tense for Google and the public and Google, I think, wants to be a good guy. Google wants to be loved by the public. If that is the case, Google should run in the next direction from Verizon. Stop this divorce before it even happens.