It’s official: Google is buying YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.
Last week HDNet founder Mark Cuban said that “anyone who buys YouTube is a moron” because of the copyright infringement liability. “They are just breaking the law,” Cuban told a group of advertisers in New York. “The only reason it hasn’t been sued yet is because there is nobody with big money to sue.” Google, of course, has lots of money.
Bear in mind that Google already has legal troubles because of its book-indexing project. Do they really need this amount of liability?
As Napster proved, popularity and neat technology aren’t the same as a good, legal business. I question Google’s decision to buy what may be the world’s biggest copyright infringer.
This wouldn’t be the first time Google has made a cockeyed move out of left field. Last month Google announced a number of philanthropic initiatives, one of which is to “develop an extremely fuel efficient, plug- in hybrid car engine that runs on ethanol, electricity and gasoline. The philanthropy is consulting with hybrid engine scientists and car manufacturers, and has arranged for the purchase of a small fleet of cars with plans to convert the engines so that their gas mileage exceeds 100 miles per gallon, or about 42 kilometers per liter. The goal: to reduce dependence on oil while alleviating the effects of global warming.”
That’s swell, but remind me again what a search engine company knows about developing cars? Sure, Google has smart people and money, but so do Toyota, Honda, Ford, BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, et al. Thinking that they’re smart enough to conquer non-search technologies may be nothing but hubris on Google’s part.