Airbus Of The Web Would Be Just As Bad As Airbus Of The Air

from the how-about-a-boeing-of-the-web dept

If you've been following the aviation industry, you know that European aerospace giant Airbus has been beset with problems lately. The state-supported company has seen its manufacturing problems exacerbated by the political interests behind it. So it's bizarre that Christoph Mohn, head of Lycos Europe, believes that Europe must create an Airbus of the web, to compete with the American internet giants. His concern that Europe has yet to produce a global internet brand may be reasonable, but the idea that a state-backed company would be best to do battle against Google and Yahoo is misguided. Already, an existing plan to prop up the industry, with a project called Quaero, looks like a boondoggle intended to divert public funds to private companies. Furthermore, a state-funded internet company will likely discourage competition and damage the domestic industry. If there's an underlying cause for the lack of a European internet success, then that should be addressed. But trying to replicate a failed model for building a business or an industry clearly looks like a mistake.

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  • identicon
    NSMike, 31 Jul 2006 @ 7:51am

    Useless

    Utterly useless. Do you know why American companies have the biggest web successes? Because American companies were the FIRST ONES TO MAKE THEM. That's it. Why re-invent google? Why go after e-bay with a European version? These services already exist. If Europe wants to have a major web success, they need to stop focusing on what someone else has already done and make a new service that appeals to everyone. Who needs another Google when we've got a perfectly good one right here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 8:02am

      Re: Useless

      "Who needs another Google when we've got a perfectly good one right here?"

      While it is very pleasant in the "Here and Now", some people can actually see past it. Not everyone sees happy things. Take a look at the WW-III or WW-IV that is taking place around us.

      Do you realize that comms infrastructure (including inter/transcontinental fiber lines) will be the FIRST thing to magically go away when the battles escelate to a full fledged war?

      Anyone who wants to create a national [clone of american internet company] may very well want to do it because they dont want to lose everything when someone decides they dont like the US anymore and act out on that feeling.

      OK, so maybe that is a rather apocalyptic (sp?) fear, and it might even be a delusional fear, but it is a perfectly justifiable reason. Anytime you become DEPENDANT on something, the very first thing you MUST do to ensure survival is to establish contingency on how to live without it. Anything else and you are merely gambling with your fate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re: Useless

        All this talk about WW-III/WW-IV - common people. Stop listening to politically-driven BS and think outside of CNN for a change.

        Europe needs to innovate. Sure, we can always use more competition in the industry - but the reason Google is Google is BECAUSE Google innovates. All the big American internet companies have done this.

        Europe will never globally compete until it starts to think for itself and comes up with interesting, new and exciting concepts - even if those concepts fail it would at least start the momentum in the proper direction.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Useless

          "Stop listening to politically-driven BS and think outside of CNN for a change."

          You do realize your post was political commentary right? You're talking about global economics, that IS politically driven BS plain and simple.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mousky, 31 Jul 2006 @ 8:25am

    At one time, the majority of drug and food companies were European. Was anyone in the US complaining about that? The socialists in Europe must be voted out and supporters of free markets and free trade voted in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      wolff000, 31 Jul 2006 @ 8:55am

      Umm.. I think No Scott.

      I can't see that following the airbus model well create anything worth a damn, but why not have a uk version of google? If we follow the thought that since it already exists why bother no new companies would ever open aagain. Why should another shoe comapny open up since we already have some. Hell google shouldn't exist since yahoo was already there along with a billion other search engines. Just cause something exists doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. google is great but they are very very very long way from perfect. as one poster pointed out if somone drops a bomb on silicon valley or any other strategic tech place all those services fade into nothing. back up is always a good thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:09am

    " Take a look at the WW-III or WW-IV that is taking place around us. "

    If that's the model you want to use, then it'll probably be members of the EU waring on each other, just like the last two WW's.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MEoip, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:12am

    Useless by Anonymous Coward on Jul 31st, 2006 @ 8:02am... Someone listened to NPR this morning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ron (profile), 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:20am

    Comparison to European Drug Companies

    re: "At one time, the majority of drug and food companies were European. Was anyone in the US complaining about that?". Yes, they were. Look at the Treaty of Versailles which included the German Bayer Company being forced to give up its trademarks for its name and an "Aspirin". Retribution for both Germany's part in WWI and for the success of the Bayer Company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mousky, 31 Jul 2006 @ 11:26am

      Re: Comparison to European Drug Companies

      That had more to do with Bayer's involvment in testing experimental drugs on concetration camp prisoners and the fact that I. G. Farben, the parent company of Bayer, produced the Zyklon B gas used in concentration camps. It wasn't America saying "hey there are too many european drug companies, we need to create our own". Besides, in the end, Bayer ended up with US rights to the Bayer name and trademark Bayer cross.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:27am

    European Search engines

    I think that is fine that they try and build their own search engines. It will also give small businesses a new opportunity to market their sites, and to help create competition for google before it monopolizes on everything. I like google, although recently I have been having difficult time doing search queries on various topics as the engine is more driven to rank the maturing websites out there. Oh, and if you don't pay for adwords, you do not show up on search indices as well. That sucks. (no really it is true, sponsored links also greatly help your website ranking as it is considered an extremely valid link directing to your site). So all in all, a fresh new popular search engines seems perfectly fine, of course that is... don't expect it to start earning lots of cash.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous of Course, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:02am

      Re: European Search engines

      I rather like Euro Ferret.

      I think the biggest problem the EU faces is getting
      over an inferiority complex. Airbus suffers from it
      driving some of their business decisions.

      Instead of looking longingly at other's successes
      and trying to duplicate them, be innovative.
      The EU encompasses an enormous resource in
      talented, clever people. Let them do what they
      do best, create, design, the successes will come.

      What I'm trying to say is the success is almost a
      by-product of innovation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William C Bonner, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:28am

    US Domination

    I'd be interested in knowing how much us domination of the internet is based on the fact that the US is a huge mostly homogeneous market. The fact that most european startups are going to do initial development in their national language, and only go multi language after proving the concept, possibly slows things down significantly, at least to have explosive growth.

    Niche sites will continue to thrive in all languages, but the biggest marketplace, and hence the biggest place to make money, is using the lowest common language, which is now english.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:47am

    To call Airbuss a failure is nice, but not true. I know, it gets headlines, but that don't make it so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    leo efstathiou, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:12am

    europe = innovative

    hitler was pretty innovative...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    leo efstathiou, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:16am

    on a serious note

    i think europe should first reevaluate its stance on failure and risk. i have been working in the netherlands for the last 8 weeks, and i have been told by many in the banking industry that once someone's company has failed once, their reputation is virtually toast for life.

    in america, failure is an excuse to get up and try again. not true for any other place in the world. we engendered this mentality from the onset with the so called "american dream". whether or not people believe in it (i do), it is difficult to ignore the cultural implications of a society to stresses risk taking and heroism in the face of failure. once europe can change this, the innovation will follow...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BullShit Captain, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:20am

    Europe

    Europe's problem is that they are USED to the government taking away everything, so why not give it to them to begin with, and let the government give it out as they see fit....The US is reportedly a democracy, we get to inovate, and then the GOV takes it away!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lay Person, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:29am

    For the most part...

    For the most part Europe likes socialist ways of doing things.

    Sure this is fine for things like healthcare and social services but it's not the best for free market competition.

    Advent technologies is a good way to start but it's not the only way. You don't necessarily have to copy existing models. Google started well after other search engines had their say. Even in the midst of AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc...

    Google came about by offering a differnt algorithm, a new way of doing the same old thing...search.

    So, it's not to say that doing the same thing is really doing the same thing. Build a better mouse trap, the people will follow.

    This " it's already been done" mentality is just what is keeping EU from moving anywhere. The U.S. is home to invention because we tend to not be confined to this old Socialist mentality. We are forced to be more independent in order to survive hence, I believe, this fosters more radical thinking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 31 Jul 2006 @ 11:10am

    innovation without price is difficult

    in conventional industries, services compete based on a number of things, one very popular option is price.

    if someone makes something, you can make a similar product that is cheaper. this is why sandisk makes MP3 players even though apple has essentailly cornered the market.

    conversely, you could make a luxury version that caters to a more affluent crowd.

    the trouble with internet companies is that you can't compete on price since most web based services are free. if you want to offer something competitive, you have to come up with a new way of doing it, like google.

    skype used to be european before it got bought by ebay. i felt like a total rebel paying my phone bill in euros :-)

    i hope europe spends it's research money wisely and comes up with something that is totally unique.

    it should also be noted that a the bulk of open source software projects are run by europeans. clearly europe has talent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 11:30am

    Pharma companies left Europe because there are price controls in Europe, not because of anything that happened around WWII.

    They needed to be located close to their profitable markets, which is the US, at least for now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ted, 31 Jul 2006 @ 11:56am

    What Free trade?

    The US government might not own the companies. But the senate and other goverment agencies are an extention of US companies and have been used to bully other counties to only buy US goods. In Europe the government owns big companies while in the US the companies own the government.

    By the way Airbus problem isn't that it's a European company but that it's controlled by French.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Drew, 31 Jul 2006 @ 11:58am

    Airbus is not a "failure", just having problems; until the war economy so was US-based Boeing, which is hugely subsidized by tax breaks and government defense money. Left to sink or swim on its own, Boeing and many other US companies would see an end to their huge profits... this "corporate welfare" keeps many related industries alive.

    American corporate web know how is merely a reflection of the venture capitalist system here. Alot of people lost alot of capital money to get the internet success stories we have here. Several of which were founded by recent immigrants. Those successful operations now hire from all over the world and are shifting jobs out of the US as fast as they can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jamie, 31 Jul 2006 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      AirBus and Boeing are both "failures" if we are talking long term sustainable profits. What people are forgetting is that the goals behind the government subsidies of these industries (both in the US and in Europe) are not to create a profitable company. The goals are to keep the manufacturing ability and know how in the country for future possible wartime use.
      I understand the need for that, what I don't understand is the need for government subsidies for types of businesses that are not "wartime" necessary. A government sponsored google alternative is not likely to become a success, and it will never be a “wartime” necessity. If there comes a time when using Google in Europe is not possible, then another service will present itself.
      Google is on top because it is the best, not because it has subsidies or tax breaks. As soon as it is no longer the best (and yes that day will come) it will no longer be on top. Its replacement could come from Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Americas. Wherever it comes from, it will be better than Google because it did the job better, not because of a government subsidy. The Internet has made it so that the border doesn't matter as much as who does it better.
      Immigrants come to the US to start businesses because it is easier to start them here. Sure there is more venture capital, but that isn’t the main reason why so many businesses are started here. The main reason is that the government regulations are a lot simpler and less controlling. So if Europe wants to have more cutting edge businesses, they need to loosen up controls and make it easier to start businesses. A lot of that venture capital actually comes from Europe and Asia. The venture capital will go wherever people are starting businesses. There is no reason why that couldn’t be Europe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2006 @ 8:28am

    Lycos are full of shit and have made a business out of being a mediocre bunch of sore losers. They've never really been any good at anything. They're a bunch of ignorant suits with horrible taste and no intelligence, and even when they were our biggest customer (in a previous position I held) I felt really, really bad about them pissing all over our products by wrapping them in several layers of tackiness.

    Then, of course, it was their DDoS-episode, which we aren't going to forget. You can safely ignore anything these clowns say.

    Go fuck yourself, Lycos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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