What about the customers? Companies all too often play chicken. It is the consumers who get screwed. A few years ago, a Sun vs. Microsoft disagreement meant no adequate Java Runtime Environment for the brand new Windows XP personal computers for months. Developers for online classes often tap Java for mini-applications (HTML editors, chat, file managers, etc.). No Java? May as well find an old computer that does or drop or fail. Sorry….
Given the market power that Google has today, they are more relevant to the Internet community than BellSouth. Given that, if I were running Google today, I would choose to implement a BellSouth Boycott and stop offering access to Google to BellSouth customers and would start advertising Cox Cable service on any requests that came from BellSouth customers in their regions. I’m willing to wager that by Q3 2006, BellSouth’s DSL group will feel the effects of their grave error in judgment.
As the battle between the Internet Access Providers and Internet Application Providers rages on, it is the customers who will be hurt more than any of the underlying companies selling access or offering applications. Welcome to the game of Internet Chicken and the race to mutually assured destruction. Who will flinch first before it is too late?
Customers are not all as dumb as you think. Placing ads to BellSouth’s competitors on through the BS network would not convert many. They listen to people like me, who would view Google acting like a bully as very, very counter to what we like about Google. At that point, I would remove Google as our search engine of choice and drive my clients to Yahoo!