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For the past few months, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hinted at every opportunity that Google (GOOG) will bid for the auction of the 700 MHz spectrum. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they issued a press release today and confirmed that they will bid on the so-called C-block of the 700 MHz spectrum.Big deal — because Google is not in it to win it. Like in an opening move in a game of high-stakes poker, Google will place an opening bet, but is unlikely to raise it.Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the press release said:
No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet.
Excuse me, that ain’t the language of a winner. Chris Sacca, Google’s head of special initiatives, in a blog post continues this “consumer-a-winner” theme, though clearly if Google did win this one, it is the winner first, and maybe…just maybe consumers. [Paint me cynical, but I like this change-the-world-consumer-first drivel from presidential candidates, not from for-profit companies with lofty valuations to protect.]
As I had pointed out earlier, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin included some of the Google proposals as part of the rules for this auction, hoping that would attract Google to the bidding process, and help drive up the prices of the spectrum being auctioned.The other companies playing with some seriousness here are AT&T, Verizon and a bunch of others. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed his intentions at a Churchill Club event, while Verizon has been doing its best to ensure its win.
In case you want to know what the whole 700 MHz fuss is all about, here are two posts that tell you everything about 700 MHz.