by Ron Daly
Let's say, for just a moment, that Google was a country. It's not so crazy - they're already dabbling in alternative energy. So let's say for just a moment that Googlevania comes to pass.
Chief export? Search Advertising.
National Security? Constantly upgraded!
Taxes? You can live for free, but you can live BETTER if you upgrade.
Seems like it works for them now, and how can you not like a country with the motto, "non exsisto malum" (that's Latin for "Don't Be Evil").
I bring it up because of recent events in which national governments are getting into squabbles with the titans of the computer age. Sure, back in '98, the Browser Wars were raging and then-Attorney General Janet Reno took on Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 98. Twelve years later, Microsoft is being vilified not here at home, but in France and Germany. French and German officials are insisting that people stay away from Internet Explorer as their browser, citing security issues with the most popular browser on the market. Clearly, Microsoft is upset about this. From the BBC article:
Mr Cluley said that switching away from IE could create other problems, particularly for companies.
"Some web-based applications may not work at all if you're not using Internet Explorer."
Microsoft is currently working on a patch for the problem, but a spokesperson said it could not commit to a timeframe.
This comes on the heels of news that Google (not Googlevania, just regular Google) would pull out of China if the Chinese government continued to upset the delivery of emails, via Gmail, to Chinese activists. This would deal a major blow to the "Great Firewall of China", the network of blackouts and blocks placed on content by the Chinese government that prevents certain information from being accessed by chinese citizens.
France and Germany insisting users ditch IE8? Google pulling out of China over conflicts of interest? That means that Microsoft and Google are major factors in the national security and human rights policies of these countries. To what degree does "Laissez faire" apply anymore? And are these considered "international incidents", as they involve American corporations? Are they "trade disputes"?
Give us your thoughts in the comment section.