For the last several months advocates for the nation's phone monopolists have been ginning up a public relations campaign against Google. They claim it's a monopolist. They claim it's a threat to freedom, a violator of privacy, evil.
It's being done in clever ways, through academics and think tanks you don't usually think of as Bell shills. Privacy advocates are being taken in, even the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
But it doesn't take a genius to see where all this is coming for, or where it's leading. All it takes is a little knowledge of the industry's history, a quick look at who stands to benefit, and a short Google of who's cheering from the sidelines.
Just read Scott Cleland's blog. Cleland, a notorious phone monopoly booster of long standing, has been hammering Google this year at every opportunity.
Google itself seems unable to understand the situation, or properly respond to it. CEO Eric Schmidt has tried to be personally charming. The company's other officials have sought to be transparent, and answer questions honestly.
Meanwhile, the stock market crash has hit Google hard. The company is now worth only about what Verizon is worth -- AT&T is now worth nearly twice that. And Google's stock valuation has begun tracking the phone giants. Suddenly it's no longer a growth stock.
How should Google respond? Aggressively. And it needs to understand who its opposition really is, the ruthlessness of that opposition, and the nature of the struggle.
It is a political struggle.