Google: A Cry for Wi-Fi

Isn't there anyone left who likes cords?

Not in tech. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) CEO Steve Jobs apparently loathes them, and now, with a failed-but-bold $4.6 billion bid for a chunk of wireless spectrum, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) wants to do away with them altogether.

Actually, Google's ambitions are broader than that. Verizon Wireless, the joint venture between telecom titans Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ  ) and Vodafone, may have outbid the folks from Mountain View, but the search king isn't backing off its demand for open access to wireless spectrum. Only its tactics have changed.

Late Friday, Google filed a six-page letter with the Federal Communications Commission, asking that the government make "white spaces" -- unused broadcast TV channels -- available for wireless data use by mobile devices.

No surprises there. Google has been investing in connectivity for years. In the wireless realm, it has a partnership with WiMAX operator Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) . Others simply agree with Google that spectrum should be freed for data use, including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) .

But expect Google to profit most if the Feds agree with its thesis: that available spectrum shouldn't be treated as a finite natural resource, and that using it can vastly improve connectivity -- and thereby, lives.

Bold? Sure. Poetic? Perhaps. Cagey? Abso-freaking-lutely.

More than 30 companies are working with Google to implement Android software for mobile devices. Having spectrum available would make those devices -- and perhaps those of competitors, such as the iPhone -- more functional.

More functional devices tend to command higher prices. Higher prices beget higher margins. Higher margins lead to greater profits. See the pattern here?

So let's call this what it is -- a ploy to get Google into more places where it can sell advertising. If it succeeds, the wireless world will never be the same.

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