I get the feeling Google should've turned around and used those 500M (which they'd already "put aside") and use them for pure lobbying.
Heck, we read story after story about all sorts of "taxes on innovation" levied against Google and other companies by all sorts of members of the old guard. Well, some of these tech companies happen to have a bunch of cash at hand, and they don't seem to be spending nearly as much of it lobbying as, say, the recording industry, which wouldn't be able to match them dollar for dollar.
Is it the "Do no evil" thing? Is it an inherent disgust for having to pay politicians to be able to make money as opposed to having the best product out there? I can certainly understand that disgust, since the mere idea would seem appalling to me (why should I have to do that? And how is it even moral?). But, hey, 500M is not chump change. And it accumulates.
I'd see it as the least of all evils. They could easily convince themselves that they'd be fighting a crusade that'll make everybody better off.
Pharma pressing on you? Spend 500M on politicians instead of just giving it away, see how that works. Recording industry wants to break the internet? 200M should fix that. Patent system is broken? Pay 12.5B for some patents with some production on the side? Hell no! A tenth of that will probably buy you either of the 2 political parties. Just take your pick.
Of course, we'll have to start worrying about what to do when Google and co. start getting too comfy owning the government, but they did promise to not be evil! :)
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