Google to buy everything, cure cancer

by Mathew on January 22, 2008 · 12 comments

I wasn’t going to touch this one, because it seems so ridiculous that it’s not even worth debunking, but the idea that Google might buy the New York Times seems to have caught enough attention to still have a cluster of blogs writing about it on Techmeme — despite the fact that there’s about as much chance of Google buying the Old Grey Lady as there is of me buying the Eiffel Tower (which I think would look really nice in my back yard, over near the potted ferns, next to the kids’ swingset).

Someone named John Ellis wrote the piece for Real Clear Markets, a sister site to Real Clear Politics, which Ellis apparently has written for in the past. He’s also described as a venture partner with Kerr Creek Partners. I hope that John doesn’t use the same kind of reasoning for his venture investments that he displays in his Google-buying-the-Times post; if he does, then his partners are in for a rude awakening. Simply put, Google buying the New York Times not only doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t fit with anything Google stands for.

Could it happen? Sure it could. And monkeys could fly out of my butt, as Wayne used to say on Wayne’s World. I’m not going to say it’s too stupid to happen, because I said that about eBay buying Skype and look what happened there — it was too stupid to happen, but it happened anyway. In any case, as my friend Ash points out at HipMojo, the main reason it won’t happen is because Google has no interest in actually producing content (except for encouraging people to submit comments on Google News stories, and look how well that’s turned out).

Ellis tries to concoct some kind of logical argument out of the fact that a) the Times is cheap, and b) it would somehow help Google lobby the government if it owned a respected newspaper. You know what else is cheap, John? Nortel Networks. Should Google buy them too? That one would actually make a lot more sense than the NYT, since Google actually uses some of Nortel’s products and probably has some thoughts about networking. What Google knows about running a newspaper would fit into one of those stress balls they hand out to new employees.

The “Google triumphalism” never seems to stop. Google is buying Verizon (or should buy Verizon). Google is buying the New York Times. Google is going to give us all free medical care and faster-than-light travel, as well as non-polluting cars that run on Tic-Tacs. Spare me.

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