State of Tech Influence 3/28/11 - Gibbs/Facebook, Patent Your Idea, & AT&T Merger

Gibbs To Facebook?

Last week we speculated thatSchmidt may be moving from Google to the Executive Branch and now we have an interesting potential development on the other side as Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs is considered for an executive position at Google.

Why It Means Nothing To Tech

This is no different than Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer exiting the
White House to work on sports communications. This move has no great meaning for tech or tech’s relationship/influence on Washington. This move would likely do wonders for Facebook as they will have an able spokesman and wonders for Gibbs as he would have another high-profile role with a much larger salary.

Have a Good Idea?

The tech world often imagines itself as a hub where good ideas can make one a lot of money and change the world. An idea is patented and forever known as that inventor’s bread and butter. Patent reform legislation which has moved out of the Senate and now into the House no longer contains the popular “first-to-invent” patent system and instead changes it to a “first-to-file” system. This idea would seemingly harm many individuals and small business in the tech community.

And?
What’s interesting is that a coalition of major tech companies including Apple, Dell, EBay, Yahoo and Google didn’t oppose the change. Small business organisations had issue with the change but not the major tech companies which Silicon Valley is so often comfortable leading the way. Many smaller tech companies would be wise to examine this legislation and not assume that the regular tech giants have their
interests in mind. 

Coalitions Matter Ask AT&T

AT&T has been busy trying to approve their merger. Obviously they have spent considerable time getting their lobbying shop in order but that’s not all. AT&T has
been working Silicon Valley to determine support for their giant merger. Kudos to AT&T for wisely realising that many companies who use them as carriers could object to the merger and jeopardize the deal.

But Shame 

On a number of tech companies who will likely not weigh in on a huge
issue which could give them added influence in Washington.

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