Clearwire’s Friends in High Places

September 16, 2009

4G WORLD, CHICAGO — Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow played to a packed house here Wednesday morning, but his keynote speech — which stressed that despite somewhat confusing stories to the contrary, Clearwire is indeed a WiMAX company — was spiced up a bit with video testimonials from an impressive list of big-name CEOs, including Google’s Eric Schmidt, Cisco’s John Chambers, Comcast’s John Chambers, Sprint’s Dan Hesse and Time-Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt.

Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow during his 4G keynote

Google’s Eric Schmidt, appearing via video clip

Cisco’s John Chambers, via video

Granted, all the big-name CEOs have their own reasons to support Clearwire — Sprint is a majority owner in the WiMAX provider, while Google, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are all big investors. Cisco, which has a smaller partnership, is nevertheless trying to find more ways to work with Clearwire, in addition to providing core network equipment and a WiMAX end-user device somewhere down the line.

While they weren’t live appearances, the buy-in from the big-name CEOs shows that Clearwire has friends in high places, relationships that will help them as they eventually battle the big telcos, Verizon and AT&T, in the battle for the next-generation mobile market consumer.

Some more cameos:

Comcast’s Brian Roberts

You get the idea. For more details on the speech see Dan Jones’ post over at Unstrung, and Sue Marek’s take over at Fierce. We’ll have a recap later of our one-on-one interview with Morrow.

Google’s Schmidt: Clearwire Investment Good for Business, Policy

May 28, 2008

In our previous analysis of Google’s participation in the Clearwire funding deal, we surmised it made sense both from a business standpoint as well as a public policy standpoint. In the first public comments about Clearwire we’ve seen from him since the deal was announced on May 7, Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells the German publication FAZ that the search giant’s half-billion dollar commitment “is a good business and it also supports the principles of openness.”

For more of the Q&A, which also touches on mobile advertising, here’s the link.

And here’s a taste of the analysis from our upcoming (very very soon!) revised version of the WiMax report (hint: if you order now, you automagically get the new version), which details our take on Google’s $500 million investment:

GOOGLE: While the search giant’s commitment of a half-billion dollars puzzled some observers, it’s easy to see some big wins for Google in both the technology development and policy arenas. On the mobile broadband front, Google now has a captive provider to test out its Android open-source mobile-device operating system, a technology that might have had an extremely tough time finding a handhold on the cellular networks run by AT&T and Verizon. On the policy side, Google can now quiet the complaints of the big telcos (who have charged Google and other Internet application providers of being “free riders” who don’t adequately contribute to the costs of the networks that provide their customers). By actively funding an attempt to build the so-called “third pipe” of broadband in the U.S., Google removes a big arrow from its competitors’ policy quivers.

Just like Eric said, makes sense for business and policy. More soon!