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Ballmer Sounds Off 335

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the he'd-kick-my-ass-at-poker-and-monkey-dancing dept.
PreacherTom writes "Steve Ballmer shares his thoughts on the Web 2.0 phenomenon, Zune, XBox, Vista, Bill's upcoming 2008 retirement, the future of Microsoft, and other subjects. For example, regarding the GooTube deal: "Right now, there's no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion. And what about the rights holders? At the end of the day, a lot of the content that's up there is owned by somebody else. The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google." He's blunt, if nothing else."
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Ballmer Sounds Off

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#16391709) Journal
    The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google.
    Ballmer:That's right, once Google bought YouTube they telephoned all the banks of recording industry artists and movie association members and said explicitly, "All your wealth are belong to us." And it was that point right there when all the banks handed large sacks with green dollar signs on them to Google. Remember back to that day, it was a long time ago, do you remember? Don't you remember Google having a long mustache that they twirled as they laughed and took the money?

    Interviewer: Aren't you oversimplifying things? I mean YouTube was taking down copyrighted content once they were notified of its presence.

    Ballmer: I'd never be guilty of oversimplifying something--I was merely attempting to explain a situation to the rest of the world about a company that just happens to be one of our biggest competitors and a direct threat in the search and advertisment industries. You don't remember it like that? Well I do and so does DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS ... sorry, I have Tourettes syndrome.
    • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:28AM (#16391849) Journal
      Ingnoring your little pantomime, Ballmer's point is legitimate -- even 'user created' content is a HUGE liability on the website. A World of Warcraft video w/ a soundtrack from a current music album, populated with soundbits from TV shows... lawyers no longer need viagra.

      Youtube is a very, very young company...just like it took the RIAA a few years to realise what Napster was, I'm sure the MPAA is having closed door sessions today to figure out how to litigate/shut this down.

      In the land of the DCMA, laws banning online gambling, the RIAA and MPAA, this is a huge legal disaster waiting to happen. I'm supportive of Google pushing the envelope, but I think they have overreached on this acquisition. Their first major mistake IMHO.
      • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:35AM (#16391935)

        In the land of the DCMA, laws banning online gambling, the RIAA and MPAA, this is a huge legal disaster waiting to happen. I'm supportive of Google pushing the envelope, but I think they have overreached on this acquisition. Their first major mistake IMHO.

        On the upside, the impact of such litigation on The Common Man might just wake everyone up to how out of control copyright laws have gotten...

      • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:35AM (#16391941) Homepage
        I don't really see how this changes things for Google, I mean they already have Google Video, which is essentially the same service as You Tube. If you're going to oversimplify you could say they basically the just bought a userbase. I can't imagine Google Video was any more immune to copyright infringement then You Tube is.
        • by allenw (33234)
          ... except Google Video does provide a revenue stream for content holders, thanks to that Buy button.
        • by aplusjimages (939458) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:55AM (#16392183) Journal
          Videos on YouTube go up like 3-5 minutes after you upload them. Google Video goes through a process that takes a day or two. This helps slow down impulse uploading. Why show off a cool video to your friends online that isn't yours on Google Video that will take a day or two. It's faster to post it on YouTube where it will be up in minutes and you are still excited about it.
          • Ah, so that's why Youtube seemed more popular! I'd been wondering...

          • by patmfitz (517089) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @11:17AM (#16393491) Homepage
            Google Video goes through a process that takes a day or two.
            It used to be like that, but no longer. They implemented a web upload form for videos less than 100MB, and the video is available as soon as it's uploaded.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233)
            I uploaded (personal) movies at both YouTube and Google, and they came up instantly. The file that I uploaded to Google was under 100 MB, so I don't know if this presumed reviewing of content is only taking place once the filesize gets bigger than the 100 MB: But under 100 MB there doesn't seem to be any manual reviewing going on at Google.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Macthorpe (960048)
        I have to agree with this.

        Who would have sued YouTube before? Universal hinted but never made good, and considering YouTube would probably have been barely able to cover fighting all these lawsuits let alone winning/losing, it seemed like an uphill battle trying to squeeze the money these companies 'deserve'.

        Now that YouTube is backed by deep-pocketed Google, this is every lawyer's wet dream waiting to happen. Let's hope that the deals that Google have already signed with some of the major players are enoug
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:17AM (#16392547)
        A World of Warcraft video w/ a soundtrack from a current music album, populated with soundbits from TV shows... lawyers no longer need viagra.

        And it's a fine example of how copyright is entirely out of whack, that actual creative effort gets the shaft in favor of so-called "rights holders" that do nothing more than sit on their asses all day! It is exactly this kind of situation that copyright is supposed to encourage, not prevent!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @11:39AM (#16393823)
          Ballmer wasn't using wealth to mean "money in the bank account." He was using it in a more technical sense of the word. "Wealth," economically speaking, is stuff that has economic value. Cars and potatoes and the like. Money is just a means of quantifying wealth and facilitating the process of bartering for it.

          Information (music, videos, etc.) has economic value, and is therefore wealth. That is what Ballmer was talking about, the transfer of that economically-valuable information from the copyright holders to google.

          Now, this statement is still absurd, because of some "have your cake and eat it too" mentalities at work behind the concept of intellectual property.

          If I take raw materials and use them to build a car, I have created wealth. I am now wealthier because of it. I also own the wealth I created, which means I control it. I can give it to you if I want, in which case you are more wealthy and I am less wealthy. Obviously I can't keep doing this endlessly without running myself dry, so I will need you to give me something back. Hence we barter. But what's important is that once I give that item to you, I don't have it anymore.

          With information it is different. I can give you a copy of it without giving up my copy of it, and without having to expend resources in its creation. So, that means, I can give it to you and still keep it! Thus I get to make money by claiming your wealth (in the form of the money you pay me) without actually giving up any of the wealth I already have (the music/video/whatever).

          Of course this is absurd, and demonstrates where common information-as-property metaphors fall short. It doesn't make sense for me to sell you a car and then claim that I still own it, so why does it make sense for me to sell you a digital file and then claim that I still own it? In the real world, I wouldn't have that car anymore, so does that mean that I am obligated to delete my copy of the song once I sell it to you? Of course not. Treating information as property leads to these sorts of contradictions because information is not property, and doesn't work the same way.

          "Intellectual property" is basically a game of pretending like information works like property in some ways, but insisting that it does not work like property in other ways. We pretend it works like property when individual consumers are concerned (they can't make copies of cars without resources, so they shouldn't be able to make copies of information without resources either), but we insist that it does not work like property when rich businesses are concerned (sure, I sold you a COPY of the data, but really I still own the data). This is not only logically inconsistent, but economically harmful (it results in lots of money flowing upwards without any real wealth flowing downwards).

          We should instead treat information as information, and rethink copyright laws. They should not arbitrarily restrict the zero-cost duplication and distribution of information (which is a great benefit to humanity in and of itself). We must also recognize that money not spent on electronic information is not money lost to the economy, but rather, money that can be spent in an economically healthy way (used to buy food or cars or any other traditional exchange in which the wealth flows in both directions).

          I have already written more than anyone will read, so I won't bother to get into the false claims that intellectual property laws protect content providers (which they do not) and that giving them up will result in no new creations and cultural starvation (which it will not). I just hope that the next generation will be able to see through these hypocritical fallacies of "intellectual property law" and act more intelligently than the current generation is acting.
      • Ingnoring your little pantomime, Ballmer's point is legitimate -- even 'user created' content is a HUGE liability on the website. A World of Warcraft video w/ a soundtrack from a current music album, populated with soundbits from TV shows... lawyers no longer need viagra.

        True, but in a different way than you think. Because (I guess except for the soundtrack) one might argue that we have fair use here. Consider
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#Fair_use_und er_United_States_law [wikipedia.org]
        Sorting this out could go al

      • In Soviet Russia Google will Fucking Kill(tm) itself?

    • I think Google has the funds, and youtube has the user base, to (finally) get the "content industry" to sit down and actually work with technology instead of just trying to sue it out of existence. e.g.: google could get a meaningful compulsory license deal imposed.

      Personally I'd prefer that they use the leverage to draw more attention to how much free/creative-commons work is out there, but to each his own.
  • Uh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#16391715) Journal
    Uh. Surely if YouTube is the ticking time bomb of copyright infringement that it's claimed to be, then what's happening is Google transferring money from the hands of Google investors into a holding tank for eventual litigants.

    I mean, if you were Ballmer, wouldn't you be thrilled that Google had bought YouTube?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LilWolf (847434)
      if YouTube is the ticking time bomb of copyright infringement that it's claimed to be

      I'd say it's pretty certain. Even YLE(the Finnish national broadcast company, about the same as BBC is in UK) is looking into Youtube and unauhorized use of its content. They haven't excluded the idea of suing Youtube through USA courts.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      I mean, if you were Ballmer, wouldn't you be thrilled that Google had bought YouTube?

      No. Now I have to compete with Google in yet another arena that I don't want to. Every time Google makes a move, I have to counter or be caught behind the eight-ball. True, Google is going to have its hands full with litigation, but then this is what Google wants, so it can force media agencies to make concessions about allowing content on Google. Their pockets are pretty deep too.

    • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:10AM (#16392425)
      Let me translate what Balmer is really saying:

      Ballmer: The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google.
      Translation: They're going to undercut the video section of Zune Marketplace...wahhhhh

      -Eric

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cgenman (325138)
      Notice that this is also the sort of thinking that has kept MS "late and last" to the web space for so long.

      You have to waste some money up front if you want to be #1. And MS badly needs to become #1 somewhere in the online space to really deliver value to their advertisers. They may have "learned their lesson" from the Xbox, but they wouldn't have been competitive in the console space without it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What's weird about Ballmer's comment is that Microsoft was reportedly one of the bidders for YouTube along with Yahoo. As for not having a business model, maybe Ballmer should take a look at their own web services sometime...
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @11:42AM (#16393869)
      Uh. Surely if YouTube is the ticking time bomb of copyright infringement that it's claimed to be, then what's happening is Google transferring money from the hands of Google investors into a holding tank for eventual litigants.

      No, because Google can spend huge volumes of cash defending itself - and as long as the service remains timley in removing copyrighted material, there is no problem. Basically, they have a lot of money to sue for but they can make sure you spend a lot as well. The are a larger, but a hardened, target.

      I mean, if you were Ballmer, wouldn't you be thrilled that Google had bought YouTube?

      No. Read the interview again - where he says "Someone has to compete with them. Maybe us, maybe Yahoo" and that "there has to be two companies competing in the media space for media owners to see value". Notice the realization and admission in that statemnet is that Google is ONE of those two companies. That means only ONE spot is left - and by admission it may not be Microsoft! Do you think that makes Balmer feel cozy, that 50% of the opportunity to control the media market online is gone now? Look at how dizzy he was on the question about YouTube valuation. He can't see it, and it's killing him. He feels like he's missing some part of the picture. He's essentially saying "I would pay 1.6 billion if I knew what the hell was going on!". Even his staement about the need to get in and "milk" a service was classic Microsoft that misses the value of a social network, which is in expansion and not squeezing it to death.

      On a side note Balmer is dead wrong on that score, YouTube even when sending no money directly to media is creating value for the media companies even with illegal content by increasing mindshare and viewership of a show so media companies can collect money via other channels.
  • if only... (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:21AM (#16391721)
    Now if only somebody could come up with an example of Microsoft laying claim to something that wasn't theirs...
  • by spywhere (824072) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:21AM (#16391723)
    Now that YouTube has money behind it, Google can expect legal action from a whole bunch of people... some of it justified.
    • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:29AM (#16391855) Homepage Journal
      Dunno who marked this offtopic.

      This blog post http://battellemedia.com/archives/002973.php [battellemedia.com]
      Has this thoughtful closing:

      So I think the YouTube acquisition may well represent a legal opportunity for Google (and the Internet industry generally), rather than a vulnerability. After all, litigation to define the copyright rules for new online services are inevitable -- better to choose your battles and plan for them, rather than fleeing the fight and letting some other company create bad precedents that will haunt you later.

      It's about managing the debate, it seems.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:30AM (#16391883) Homepage Journal
      However, now that they have money and a huge corporate staff behind it, they can actually keep up with the copyrighted stuff that gets posted, while at the same time using their squadron of entertainment lawyers to actually start securing the rights to the stuff that people obviously want.

      Google Video has been selling legit videos for a while now, they have the experience. YouTube had started legitamizing some of their videos, cf. their recent deal with (I think) Warner. This whole situation has the potential to converge quite nicely for all concerned, and combine the freebies and community YouTube developed with a full-fledged digital video competitor to iTunes and Amazon.
    • So long as YouTube staff doesn't deliberately post copyrighted material, and as long as they take down offending videos when they get a take-down notice, I don't think there's much of a legal leg to stand on.
    • by mysticgoat (582871) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:38AM (#16392881) Homepage Journal

      Now that YouTube has money behind it, Google can expect legal action from a whole bunch of people... some of it justified.

      That was truly insightful, at least for me.

      Google's core business model revolves around "fair use" and similar provisions of copyright law. I think they are most vulnerable in this area-- look at Belgium. So Google needed to buy YouTube for a couple of reasons related to this.

      The first is because YouTube's business model also revolves around many of the same "fair use" provisions, and if YouTube loses its upcoming court cases, the fallout could fatally poison Google's business model. It would be very hard for Google to immunize itself from any judgments against YouTube that changed the interpretation of copyright law. Purchasing YouTube allows Google to directly counter such an attack with all its resources. It also decreases the likelihood of such an attack, since all the ambulance chasers who were smacking their lips in anticipation of an easy meal from YouTube's carcass are now slinking away, looking for easier prey that won't be able to fend them off for years with delaying tactics.

      The other reason that occurs to me is that the most important part of strategizing any conflict is choosing your battlefield carefully. Google is under constant threat of serious litigation over copyright concerns. Google has just bought a battlefield where these litigations can be played out, that is comfortably distant from the fields of green where Googles' cash cows graze.

      I expect that Google is developing the muscles it needs to directly influence copyright legislation, and I expect it is also going to be increasingly influential in copyright litigation as well (intervening with friend of the court briefs, etc). This all seems to be part of Google's mission statement: [google.com] "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

      • by hagrin (896731) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:39AM (#16406125) Homepage Journal
        Insightful? More like shortsighted.

        There are more players in the video distribution game outside of YouTube and Google Video and many of them do not have the deep pockets of Google. By the rationale of the parent, then the old, played Slashdot joke applies:

        1. Make video content distribution site
        2. Have users post content protected by copyright.
        3. Google will then swoop down and buy your site to avoid legal precedent to protect their own legal future and future business model.
        4. ???
        5. Profit.

        It's absurd to think that Google bought YouTube to protect themselves against poor legal decisions. Legal decisions are not based on "scale" i.e. just because YouTube is the player in video distribution right now doesn't mean they are going to be the end all and be all of legal decisions.

        The overanalyzation of this purchase is mind numbing. It's as simple as huge user base, it didn't cost them anything outside of stock (which is overvalued as is) and it protected themselves from other large players acquiring YouTube.
  • by tdvaughan (582870) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:21AM (#16391725) Homepage
    I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation.

    Coming from anyone else, I can cope with the picture that brings up in my mind. But from Ballmer?

    • "Coming from anyone else, I can cope with the picture that brings up in my mind. But from Ballmer?"

      That's because there was no mention any dog food in those pictures or videos. Now squirt pictures of his kids eating Alpo or a video of recent family vacations to the Purina processing plant in Des Moines, Iowa, and now you've got media that Ballmer would be overjoyed to see!

      /P

    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:00AM (#16392273) Journal
      I was giggling to myself when I read this. "Squirt". Is m$ serious about trying to make this their word, like "Rip" or "Podcast". This is a horrible catch phrase that I believe is trademarked by the porn industry.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:24AM (#16391775) Homepage Journal
    "there's no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion. [...] what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google"

    That sounds like a business model.

    At $1.6B, Google has transferred wealth from rights holders to the (outgoing) owners of YouTube.

    What is clear is that Ballmer has no clue what's going on. Just like during the last bubble, when Microsoft was the last to "get" it. But then there was no Google producing apps closer to the consumer than Microsoft sits. So maybe this time a bubble, maybe its pop, will actually finally wash MS down the drain, the way we all thought we'd see with "missing the Internet" or Netscape or "Bob" or the monopoly decision or...
  • Jealous, perhaps? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blcamp (211756)

    Youtube is not a terribly complicated web application, yet the founders are going to cash it in and walk away with USD 1.65 Billion (with a B).

    Certainly Ballmer's developers! developers! developers! could have come up with the same thing and brought it to market far faster... but they didn't. Redmond even think about it, did they?

    Sounds like a bit of jealousy... or sour grapes.

    • Hey, they just invented the mobile MP3 player, which was all new and never done before, cut them a little slack. I'm pretty sure they'll invent a service where you can upload your videos in due time. Like, 3 or 4 years.
    • by saridder (103936)
      Actually the co-founders "only" get to split $500mm.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:28AM (#16391843) Homepage
    YouTube is trying to provide a legitimate platform, but it has A LOT of IP that doesn't belong to those posting it. For better or for worse, this is illegal and somewhat unethical. Google stepped into a minefield by buying them if they don't have a comprehensive way to filter out that stuff. If I were a shareholder, I'd be deeply worried that Google has opened themselves up to a potentially fatal IP battle. Between this and the Google book search IP lawsuits, Google is gambling big time and geek opinions on the legitimacy of IP law and how it should apply won't mean crap in a court of law WRT Google.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:45AM (#16392081) Homepage Journal
      Google has the resources to start cracking down on the copyrighted stuff, and the clout to start securing the rights to actually distribute (and possibly sell) the copyrighted content that they can't help but notice people want. The demand is there and measurable, they only have to work out the deals to be able to supply it legitimately. They've been doing that with Google Video for a while now, so really it looks like smooth sailing from here on in.

      The only people that lose out are the Youtube users who got used to the free ride with the copyrighted stuff and don't want to pay for legit downloads on GooTube, but they can always head back to the fileshares.
      • I think Google has a strong bargaining position with the big distributors: We are keeping youtubes "instant posting" policy, now we can come to an agreement about that or we can start litigating each and every "properly prepared" takedown notice.
    • For better or for worse, this is illegal and somewhat unethical.

      That's rather a broad generalization. Not all situations where IP is used by someone who is not the "rights owner" as Ballmer says (that should be "primary rights owner, as we ALL have rights, such as "fair use rights") is illegal or unethical. There is a lot of gray area in that regard, and certainly some of what is posted to YouTube is illegal and/or unethical, but you can't make a blanket statement like this.

      Guess it goes to show that th

      • And if you want to get even more technical, even DETERMINING who exactly owns the "rights" of a work is often impossible.

        It's fine if you have a single person making a video. But what if you have several people working to produce that video? Technically they all own a piece of the rights, unless it's a "work for hire" for a single company. And how would you know that if you were an individual buying it from just one of them? Until you got a "cease and desist" letter from one of the other guys, there is no

    • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:32AM (#16392789)
      If I were a shareholder, I'd be deeply worried that Google has opened themselves up to a potentially fatal IP battle.


      That's because you're either not up to date on US law or you've been listening to Ballmer for too long. Title 2 of the DMCA [wikipedia.org] creates a "safe harbour" which exempts Google (and any other "Online Service Provider") from liability for this sort of thing, so long as they comply with certain rules. Google almost certainly plan to follow these rules to the letter, as they do for all other other services, which means nobody can take them to court in the US for anything posted on YouTube by a third party.

      Basically, if you post something to YouTube, it's your fault and not theirs. They are not obliged to screen the content. If somebody sends them a "takedown" notice, they are obliged to presume guilt and remove the content (without investigating). If you then send them a counter-notice, they are obliged to presume innocence and restore the content (still without investigating), and then you and the person who sent the notice get to fight it out in court.

      (This is the "good" part of the DMCA, providing a form of common carrier status to hosting companies; Title 1 is the "bad" part, enslaving the US to DRM)
    • I find this response to the YouTube purchase hilarious. As if Google didn't think about this at all before the purchase. You don't think Google's legal department did their research and gave the go-ahead?
    • If I were a shareholder, I'd be deeply worried that Google has opened themselves up to a potentially fatal IP battle. Between this and the Google book search IP lawsuits, Google is gambling big time and geek opinions on the legitimacy of IP law and how it should apply won't mean crap in a court of law WRT Google.

      Google stock went up on the news, so I think the shareholders are fine with the deal. YouTube has been cozying up with the media companies over the past few months to prevent IP battles from er

  • by jackharrer (972403) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:32AM (#16391905)
    Think in this way: How many people visit YouTube every day? Millions.
    What happens it you put Google adverts there? Yes, you guessed. You will have damn a lot of clicks.
    Does it sound like a business model? Yep, I think so.
    Is it highly overpriced? Up to Google, they had cash - they need to invest it. It gave them about 80% of downloaded videos. Is it good? For them, for a while, for sure. What happens next is up to them, and RIAA, MPIA and so. If they can struck some kind of deal, who knows. With their cash, influences.
    That's exactly what Ballmer said. He 'wouldn't pay that much cash.' He MIGHT. Because it's very risky - but we all know that risky actions are most profitable. Time will show.

    • by mcwop (31034)
      Bingo, you are right. YouTube can sell ads. If the ad revenue exceeds costs to run the site, then they profit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lux (49200)
      > Does it sound like a business model? Yep, I think so.
      > Is it highly overpriced? Up to Google,
      > Is it good? For them, for a while, for sure.

      When did you get a Slashdot account, Secretary Rumsfeld?
  • by ben there... (946946) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:46AM (#16392087) Journal
    The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google.

    Less than half of the popular videos when I just checked were from TV. Of those that were, 3/4 of them were news clips or Jon Stewart/Colbert Report. Even then, it is short clips.

    What this quote is missing is that the majority of the content on YouTube is produced by the "You" in YouTube. That's what the new phenomenon of these video sites is really about. People producing and distributing their own content.

    In fact, I wish people would just stop posting copyrighted videos. There's BitTorrent and a wide variety of other means to share that, if that's your thing. Why bother using YouTube for it, when you know that already having a popular video is enough to get it seeded?
    • Notably, most of the Stewart and Colbert stuff is already streamed for free on Comedy Central's own site. Adult Swim has been streaming entire seasons of their shows over their own site. More networks and production companies are following suit every day, with either free streams or cheap downloads on iTunes and the like.

      The one thing filesharing in general and Youtube in particular have really helped to jumpstart, is letting progressive rights-holders like these know that demand for streaming their stuf
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      "Why bother using YouTube for it, when you know that already having a popular video is enough to get it seeded?"

      Youtube is easier to get to, easier to see small speific bits of a larger show.

      Mostly it's easier to get to, and THATs where internet money has always been. Giving people what they want in a few clicks.

  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:48AM (#16392109)
    I bet Microsoft is calling around today asking if by chance somebody was to back them up financially would they invest in this cool company they know about that is tossing around the idea of a lawsuit
    against google for infringement....you know wink, wink we got your back bro!
  • Every time he opens his mouth, pea green crap spews out. Microsoft should invest in 3M and keep that thing duct-taped closed.

    Anyway, he's only pissed off because Microsoft wants all that money and Google's proving to be a better player of the game of Monopoly. And they don't charge you $400 when you land on Park Avenue. It's kind of interesting to watch a company with the motto of "Don't be Evil" running circles around a company whose motto has to be "Be Evil" based on everything the've done in the past c

  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:54AM (#16392171)
    The question is: What's the value of an eyeball?

    That really is the question, isn't it. Today advertising is where a large portion of the money is being made on the web.

    It makes me want to go back in time and find and then murder the "clever" person who thought "I know, since we can't charge each listener for our radio program, we'll charge companies to advertise on our show!"

    Advertising is a blight on our society. I can't even watch a frickin' movie that I paid to see without having advertising shoved down my throat...even in the damned movie!

    Hasn't any business been paying attention?! People will actually spend money to avoid advertising. PVRs, DVD collections of TV shows, movie and music downloads...to a lot of people, it's not about "convenience", it's about not having to put up with commercials.

    So to all the advertisers out there: FUCK OFF. When I want to find the best product for my money, I'll grab the nearest advertsing executive and beat it out of them.

    My eyeballs are not for sale!

    • by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:40AM (#16392903)
      Hasn't any business been paying attention?! People will actually spend money to avoid advertising.

      Actually, that company exists. But you've probably never heard of it because they never advertise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheWoozle (984500)
        No, I *have* heard of them, because they have a website. I found them on Google...maybe you've heard of it?

        Anyway... I specifically prefer companies that have not gone out of their way to shove their products at me through advertising. I like to find small companies with good products on my own. Besides generally getting better quality products (because these companies don't spend a large portion of their revenue on advertising), I have more satisfaction in my purchases because of the fact that I researc
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``My eyeballs are not for sale!'' ...yelled the poster who sold his eyeballs, rather than paying for a /. subscription.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:55AM (#16392189)
    Ballmer let slip at the end, (regarding European vista launch date):

    "...we'll have to push the button because our partners--hardware makers and retail chains--need time to ramp up supply chains, marketing, and demand generation."

    Demand generation. Vista itself has no demand (meaning no extra benefit over XP), so they have to artificially create demand now.

  • Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:58AM (#16392233) Homepage
    Everyone knows that You Tube has loads of copyrighted material that shouldn't be there. With this in mind, why would Google buy it and risk having their ass sued off? I wouldn't have bought it if I'd had the money for this one reason, but for some reason Google have done. Maybe they'll just remove all the copyrighted material or just charge a subscription for it?

    Basically all it boils down to is that You Tube is the biggest video site on the net which Google now control and Microsoft are just pissed because they've just lost out on the biggest multimedia opportunity of this decade.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      I also wonder if there's more going on. Right around the same time that Google buys YouTube, this quote [arstechnica.com] comes out of Disney:

      So we understand piracy now as a business model. It exists to serve a need in the marketplace specifically for consumers who want TV content on demand and it competes for consumers the same way we do, through high-quality, price and availability and we don't like the model. But we realize it's effective enough to make piracy a key competitor going forward. And we've created a strate

  • "Plays anywhere" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betelgeuse68 (230611) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:02AM (#16392291)
    "Apple is refusing to give its users choice. With Windows Media Player you can play the music you buy on the device of your choosing."

    That's a paraphrase but essentially Ballmer delivered that message. Then sometime later MS decides to release its Zune player and to say to its former music partners. I guess I could fill in the blanks here, "Sorry that you didn't realize MS+'Anyone' = MS." Namely that your interests are not ever really a consideration.

    MS actually started its down video site. So if Mr. Ballmer feels so strongly, the question is, why? I know the answer by and large.

    Ballmer simply has no tact whatsoever. He gets all emotional and contradicts himself later making him look like a capricious idiot.

    -M
  • Third competitor (Score:3, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:03AM (#16392321)
    A third model I could sit here and write down on this list is that there are cases where software gets monetized through hardware. That's what an iPod is. iPod is a software thing. You just happen to collect the money on the hardware. You could say in China and India, it's unclear whether classic software will get paid for as much as advertising, hardware, subscriptions, etc.

    I thought the iPod model was where content get monetized through hardware. Unless Ballmer is equating content with software. Maybe I'm looking at this differently but in my world view content is faciliated by software but not an integral part of it. A novel is more than the word processor used to create it.

  • The most frightening scenario is Google positioning itself as the uber-enforcement agent of copyright on the Internet, in exchange for a piece of the action. With the data it is accumulating, Google more than any other single firm can identify people, and tag them with the creation of violating derivative works or the consumption of violating works. The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution is years.
  • by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:11AM (#16392449)
    Right now, there's no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion

    Why is that I suspect that Microsoft also tried to buy youtube?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Anyway, it's ignoring the fact that the Google share price increase since the deal was announced has added more than $1.6B to the value of the company... they got YouTube for free.
  • is so reminiscent of the years when Microsoft was snatching deals from under IBM's nose. I just hope that for the sake of all users Microsoft can reinvent and save itself from extinction.
  • "[Take open source.] Open source is not a new technology area. It was a new business model", SB

    First RFC [faqs.org] April 1969 for the ARPANET. The Open Source Initiative [opensource.org] originated in Feb 1998.

    "In the last three or four years, we have competed very well by extending our value", SB

    "Microsoft has proposed a licencing agreement blatantly tailored to exclude [regdeveloper.co.uk] free software from accessing it.", FSF Europe

    " RealNetworks .. sued .. Microsoft on antitrust charges .. Our case is based on .. failure to disclose [com.com] inte
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petrus4 (213815)
      "[Take open source.] Open source is not a new technology area. It was a new business model", SB

      First RFC April 1969 for the ARPANET. The Open Source Initiative originated in Feb 1998.


      1969 is not "new." The OSI is also all about business. ESR and crew have cared more about corporate evangelism than anything else. (And yes, that is easy to verify)

      "In the last three or four years, we have competed very well by extending our value", SB

      Propoganda, sure.

      "Microsoft has proposed a licencing agreement blatantly ta
  • Well, my guess is that one of his fears is that the litigation game is now being played on equal footing. Usually, it's content industry vs. Mr. Nobody, i.e. deep pockets on one, no money on the other side. A trial against someone who can't afford to go to court for lenghty periods is already won.

    It's a very different problem if your opponent has as much or even more money than you are. Google can afford lawsuits, and they might even want to dish it out on one occasion or another, which could set some rathe
  • $Google$ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danwesnor (896499)
    Google can afford to spend more than us
    From a company that's used to buying its competitors out of business, that's a pretty revealing statement...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PreacherTom (1000306) *
      I think that's more of an issue of timing. Yes, M$ has some serious cash. They are also at a quite vulnerable (relatively speaking) time: the pre-game for Vista. They are focused in that (and some other) directions. Doing a few multi-billion deals at the moment would pull their focus in different directions.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @10:57AM (#16393199) Homepage
    (Yes, I know this is a setup)

    Is there a video of the interview anywhere?
  • My opinion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@smokingcCOFFEEube.be minus caffeine> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @11:28AM (#16393657) Homepage
    Google is going to get in a battle with *AA over the legality of content on their websites. But now one of those small innovative company's (like Napster was) doesn't have to worry anymore about being strong-armed by the *AA because they don't have money. I don't think the *AA hasn't won a single case against a cash-giant like Google, they always go after the smaller IPO's, single mom's, 15yo girls and other "poor" people/companies which finally have to give up because of the cash drain and either settle or file for bankrupcy.

    The good thing is that Google has a steady income of more cash which they can throw against the case if need be and they are thus going to be less likely to settle for a lump-sum and give up. They can also afford better lawyers and finally open the IP box of pandora and set an example/precedent.
  • Balmer is Lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @12:09PM (#16394355)
    The truth is what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google."

    Balmer is so lame. He's lucky to be with MS, since I doubt anyone else would have him.

    Re: quote above, the so-called "rights holders" wouldn't have this money otherwise. There wouldn't be any money otherwise since no one would be doing anything with it. Balmer is trying to start a fire by telling the RH's that somehow they're entitled to this unearned money, and cause problems for the competition. Wish we could just shut him up entirely, but that's not likely.

    Of course, if MS was doing this instead, Balmer would be calling it a victory for the RH's.

  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @12:32PM (#16394699) Homepage Journal
    there's no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion.

    or, translated to normal english:

    "We have no idea how they plan to make money on this, so it must be impossible."

    The sounds of a man who can't accept that there might be people smarter than him on the planet.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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