Google’s already tipped

WSJ.com – Article:

Speaking at an investor conference hosted by Credit Suisse First Boston, Google Chief Financial Officer George Reyes said the company’s aggressive hiring efforts are, in part, designed to increase Google’s size as it prepares to face off with a larger, wealthier rival – presumably a reference to Microsoft.

“Our objective is to get to substantial scale as quickly as possible,” Reyes said, because that lets you “brace yourself to compete with anybody, within reason.”

Reyes also said that Google’s September secondary offering of stock was mainly designed to build “a defensive war chest” against competitors.

This is an admission that Google sees only its own risks in the road ahead, as it is all defensive strategy and added costs that define the company’s strategy.

John Battelle, who has studied Google as deeply as anyone, had this say earlier today in Thinking About Google and The Turning Point:

In seven short years, Google has gone from a geeky startup with one good idea into an agenda-shaping player responsible for navigating complex relationships with world governments, the personal privacy of millions, major trade organizations, and hundreds of thousands of businesses small and large. It’s an extraordinary weight to bear, it seems to me. It’s the kind of position that requires a balanced mixture of leadership, will, and diplomacy. There’s very little room for the go-it-alone mentality which got the company to where it stands today. Can the company shift its culture and avoid the fate which ultimately hobbled Microsoft? That, more than anything else, will define the next chapter in the company’s fascinating story.

And Fred Wilson adds in his posting about John’s Google comments in The “Worm Turning” Moment:

John says the “worm turning” moment is “when the world realizes that the company is *too powerful* and its ambitions are *too great.*”

If that is the definition, then we’ve clearly reached that moment, maybe as long ago as last year.

I, too, have been saying Google’s over-reaching and broad-ranging product offerings of recent months, combined with its belief that adding searchability to any content is sufficient to justify extensive changes in other firms’ business models, is ample evidence that the company has decided to go its own way, come Hell or high water. Microsoft isn’t the only model for such hubris, as many companies have believed their early growth established a right to manifest destiny; Microsoft is one of the few that have survived that decision.

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News is growing laterally

Dispelling the Myth of Readership Decline:

The industry has touted the notion of readership — a metric that takes into account how many people read the paper whether they buy it or not — for years, but has often taken halfhearted steps toward giving it true legitimacy.

Then there’s the confounding, if promising, online angle. If you count Web traffic, newspapers are actually more popular than ever.

More thoughtful confirmation of the point I’ve been making: The crisis is not in the business of publishing, but in the resistance of the publishing industry to changing delivery mechanisms. Then, there’s the potential in bringing new contributors into the news gathering and production process.

Folks like to talk crisis, because it is good business to declare change is afoot. The reality is that there is nothing but opportunity in change.

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Some will….

‘Podcasting riches’:

Unfortunate, because successful podcasts will not come from those with dollar signs popping up in front of their eyes.

It would be unfortunate if podcasters only assume success will come pursuit of wealth, but J.D.’s categorical statement is incorrect. Some podcasters will become stars and earn their living—even very good livings—from their work. The lure of success can spur dedication, too.

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Another corrupt Republican bites the dust

Rep. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham to Plead Guilty to Tax Violations – Los Angeles Times:

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham will plead guilty today to tax evasion in a political corruption case, according to a source close the investigation.

The veteran Republican from a conservative north San Diego County district called close supporters last night to tell them of his decision.

“It’s over. I can’t fight anymore,” Cunningham was quoted as saying. Cunningham sold his home to a defense contractor at an inflated price, sparking a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation. The eight-term congressman announced earlier this fall that he would not seek reelection next year, setting off a scramble among would-be successors.

This is the kind of tragic corruption that comes when one party becomes over-bearing in its exercise of power. Cunningham seems to have taken an inflated price for his home from the owner of defense contractor MZM Inc. in exchange for political favors (the contractor sold the house in less than a year for a $700,000 loss—in this over-heated market!), but will only be hit with tax evasion charges. Real Al Capone stuff, which is the logical result of turning Washington into an influence yard sale.

The committee Cunningham chairs, the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence, was directly responsible for the type of work the contractor has received more than $163 million in federal funds since 2002 to perform (here’s the link to the DOD archives, which are unsearchable). The company has also hired members of the family of the director of DOD facilities it serves, another smarmy corruption. Here’s who the company’s PAC supports: Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R.—Colorado); Cunningham; Rep. Randy Forbes (R—Virginia); Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia); Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Florida); Rep. Duncan Hunter (R—California); Rep. Richard Renzi (R—Arizona).

Anyhow, Cunningham, who was one of the Congressmen who urged the First Bush to smear Bill Clinton with the communism brush because of his college-era exchange trip to Russia, further besmirches the honor of public service. This after a career as one of the most-decorated airmen in Vietnam, certainly the highest order of valor and integrity. How the mighty fall, eh? Unbridled payola is what you get when one party takes and holds power at any cost.

UPDATE: Cunningham’s letter of resignation, which Daily Kos calls “quite classy” begins:

I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I’ve compromised the trust of my constituents.

It is an abject admission of guilt, does not beggar forgiveness and is contrite. All criminal pols should be so straightforward, but most won’t be.

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Your house isn’t a credit card anymore

FT.com US housing market shows signs of cooling:

The US housing market showed signs of cooling as sales of existing homes eased last month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The NAR said there was a “moderate decline” in both single-family and condo sales.

Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.09m units in October, down 2.7 per cent from September’s 7.29m. Sales were 3.7 per cent above the 6.84m-unit level in October 2004.


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Own a home? Settle in, because the gains you’re used to are going to return to the historical norm.

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