July 24, 2014

AT&T CEO Obviously Not a Fan of Google

There’s an article on the Wall Street Journal today that talks about AT&T and their reaction to Verizon’s willingness to cozy up to Google and Android.  While CEO Randall Stephenson acknowledges that they have done a terrible job could do better with Android, he promises “radical changes” in the next six months.  Let’s hope so.  The first two handsets out of the gate for the carrier haven’t set the world on fire and seem to fly in the face of what the platform is all about.

Speaking of which, Stephenson places much of the blame on Google.  For some reason he thinks Google is heavy handed and “insists on having its search engine prominent on the device” which as he puts it, is the opposite of the openness that is Android.  Sorry Randall but Google doesn’t insist on anything.  They provide a platform that carriers and handset makers can tweak.  Sounds more like you insist on using your buddies over at Yahoo! instead.   And you know what else?  You don’t have much room to talk about control and companies throwing their weight around.  Apple has led you around by the nose for a few years now, doing whatever they want with their iPhone.  Oh, by the way… there is a reason that Google’s search currently enjoys an 84-percent market share.  It’s because it’s better than whatever you’ve got.

Later in the article, Stephenson points out the difference in media coverage between AT&T  and Google.  As a primer, last week hackers found, and exploited, a vulnerability on their  customer service website.  Approximately 114,000 emails addresses were given out including those belonging to public officials and celebrities.  By contrast, Google recently came out and publicly admitted they had collected “payload data” during StreetView scanning.  For more on the Google situation, I recommend this SAI article from today.  Regardless of who did what, it just comes across as lame to have someone point out the differences, especially in a CEO position.

I am reminded of situations where, as a child, my parents would scold my sister or I for something we shouldn’t have done. Typically, the first thing we would do is try to dime the other sibling out over something we perceived to be just as bad, if not worse.  “But mom, Scott did this today and he should get in trouble too.”  I am going to recommend my mother’s advice to Randall Stephenson and AT&T – Worry about yourself, not others.

Really, I think most of AT&T’s gripe with Google boils down to this…

Google believes there should be one price charged for the delivery of Internet traffic, while AT&T wants to be able to get a return on its investment by charging some companies more for a guaranteed level of speed. – WSJ

Face it.  Google is far more open than you guys are ever willing to be and that just doesn’t sit right with you.  If you don’t start getting Android right soon, you guys will be the laughing stock of the wireless community.  If/when you lose exclusivity with the iPhone, your smart phone lineup will pale by comparison to the others.  Don’t say you were never warned.