Ars Technica is reporting that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has made some interesting comments about the American political system. It confirms what many of us have thought for some time – that democracy in Washington is something of an illusion, and large corporations have a very strong influence on the Government decision-making process. The hypocricy is of course that Google has it’s own lobbying operation, clearly it feels compelled to be a player in the game that it wants no part of.
Microsoft are in a similar position at the moment – they are campaigning alongside the EFF for reform of the US patent system to make it easier to invalidate bad software patents. At the same time they are following their rivals down the path of building up a stockpile of patents, and sending out increasingly threatening messages towards Android handset manufacturers.
I think it’s a good thing that these organisations have enough of a conscience to highlight the issues of political corruption and a screwed up patent system. Although they are participating in the behaviour they criticise, realistically they have no alternative. A corporation has a responsibility to it’s shareholders to maintain a profit and defend itself against competitors. Nothing less will be accepted. The behaviour is caused by the broken system they operate in, not the cause of it.
Meanwhile Apple has been a big loser in the patent world this week, very well summed up by Thom over at OSnews. How the hell can sliding album covers around be worth $600 million?