Eric Schmidt, the New Escapist

Someone hinted at me recently that one of the reasons Google didn’t want to invest in peering / transit in France – leading to some of the disagreements on who should bare the cost of it as currently investigated by French regulator ARCEP – was that establishing more technical presence in a market would force them to shift the status of their local representations and jeopardize their complex tax evasion mechanism.

I don’t know if that’s true, and I don’t quite see how I could verify that. But in light of the complex profit shifting operations that Google has been undertaking for years to minimze their tax burden, it certainly rings true.

I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now, but always wondered if I’d be too borderline political. I think that the kind of tax mechanisms that Google (and others, especially in the tech business) are implementing are immoral and frankly despicable.

Apparently I’m not the only one as Guy Daniels in on the same line in yesterday’s Telecom TV editorial entitled Google “can make money without doing evil” (as it evades $2bn in taxes). He expresses my thoughts way better than I would do myself. Telecom TV’s Editor in Chief Martyn Warwick reacts today to Eric Schmidt’s shameless dismissal as published in the US press yesterday in much the same direction in Google and Tax: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

The questions I’m left with are:

  • how much does this actually affect Google’s industrial strategy as hinted by my mysterious source above?
  • considering how dependant on Google I and many many others are, how do I express my displeasure at the company? It’s not quite as easy as buying coffee from an outlet that doesn’t sell in venti sizes. Shifting webmails is not an option, but I guess using a different default search engine might be.

Which one do you recommend?