The Packet Rat | Net neutrality doesn't get Google's first-class treatment

The Rat

'No wonder the Google boys were so far out of the loop on their net neutrality lobbying effort,' the Rat remarked to his minions over the top of his hard-copy Wall Street Journal. 'They've been distracted by other, more important issues'like who gets what size bed on their corporate plane.'

The rest of us should have such problems. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google (which was supposed to be called Googol, but neither of them are very good spellers), along with their chaperone and CEO Eric Schmidt, have apparently been having a hard time getting their Boeing 767 widebody modified to suit their needs. And now there's a court battle brewing that may keep what Schmidt allegedly described to a designer as 'a party plane' grounded for a while.

After 20 hours in the car with the family recently, and countless business trips spent shoved into the moral equivalent of overhead storage, the whiskered one can understand the desire among the Googlians for some extra legroom. After all, Bill Gates owns a 767, so what's the harm in sharing one'a used one, for that matter?

'Buying a used plane shows that these guys are fiscally responsible Internet robber barons,' the Rat related to the growing crowd around his command cube. 'At least they're not shooting off intercontinental ballistic missiles to get attention.'

But maybe that would help. Given the less-than-warm welcome the masters of the Googleverse got when they showed up practically unannounced to lobby on behalf of network neutrality, it's clear that they still have some learning to do about how to get your way in Washington. That little thing with China a few months back (when they put business first in kowtowing to China's restrictions of free expression and freedom of information) didn't help, either.

But, then again, Larry Page doesn't have the kind of help Bill Gates does in the halls of Congress, or at least used to. Not much attention has been paid as of late to the connections between Microsoft and that guy who worked for Bill's dad's law firm, Jack Abramoff'maybe because Gates has been getting more attention for his softer, more charitable side.

'Google's 'Don't Be Evil' thing isn't doing them much good. Maybe they're ready to try the 'Dr. Evil' route for a while,' the Rat suggested.

The Google founders apparently had some interesting requests for the plane interior, like hammocks that would hang from the ceiling, and large personal bedrooms for themselves. Schmidt reportedly settled a disagreement over the designs for the plane's interior by saying, 'Sergey, you can have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you can have whatever kind of bed you want in your bedroom. Let's move on.'

'But if both of them get California King beds,' the wirebiter's desktop support lieutenant said, reading over his shoulder, 'where are they going to put the death ray?'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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