Google cofounder Sergey Brin suggested today that politicians elected tonight in the US elections should resign from their parties and act as independents. As a citizen of the internet, I couldn’t help but think I’d like to see the same thing happen among our internet rulers, the major internet companies.
So, to rewrite Brin’s request from that perspective:
It is ironic that whenever I have met with people from our major tech companies, they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people. And yet collectively, 90% of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other tech companies.
So my plea: please run your companies for the collective benefit of users and the internet, in the way you all so often suggest you want to. It is probably the biggest contribution you could make.
Quite seriously, I’ve met completely rational, thoughtful, well-meaning people at Google who nonetheless don’t prevent the company from sometimes acting in fiercely competitive ways toward other companies.
The same is true for other large internet companies, as well. Apple won’t work with Google; Twitter won’t work with Tumblr; Google won’t work with Microsoft; Facebook won’t work with Google.
I no more expect that partisanship will be abandoned in the tech world than I do in the political world. But if it does, perhaps a leader like Brin in the tech world might actually convince some on the political world to change.
Here’s a start. How about an official Google Voice app for Windows Phone? Microsoft is open to that bipartisanship, but to date, Google can’t muster the resources to make that happen, it seems.