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What does the Google-Motorola merger mean for everyone else?

Although Mitt Romney might have tried to argue last week that “corporations are people," we the people are seeing more and more that the haves have more than the have-nots.

Ah, the Internet!

Yes, you’re reading this online the day after Google has gone off and bid for Motorola Mobility Inc. (MMI) for an eye-popping $12.5 billion, a 33 percent mark-up from its split and birth just seven short months ago.

Just what does that mean for us, the consumer, we poor users caught in a whirlwind where everything we type is copied and cooked (cookied?) by these huge new trawlers of the Internet?

I remember arriving in the U.S. in early 1999, an early disciple of this new search engine called Google, which at that stage still sounded like a baby word. Perhaps due to my own innate disdain of everything belonging to the status quo or rather software of the masses, I was still able to largely operate outside the then-software monoliths.

No Word and Windows for me, I was still a Word Perfect and Lotus 123 user. And for e-mail I used Netscape long before Steve Case subsumed it into AOL.

When I arrived in New York City, and met Alex, my then soon-to-be future wife, she was spending her waking hours between auditions and working the overnight shift at Salomon Smith Barney, day trading and short-selling stocks in AOL and Yahoo. Google was still largely a small pixel-free garage-based enterprise by two students in California.

Several years later Alex and I were sunning ourselves on the beach of St. Barts as Google debuted on the Stock Exchange and quickly blitzed its $80 bid price.

“Oh,” I said to Alex. “I was an early believer in Google, perhaps we should have bought some stock?”

But instantly I realized that neither she nor I were in a position to have been a preferred purchaser given how over-subscribed the stock had been.

And this brings me to where we are today. These past two weeks Alex and I have written about the debt ceiling and taxes and how those in charge should look at all options on the table.

But then I sometimes cynically realize that, although Alex and I are very well-off in comparison to most, we are still an eon away from those that benefit from the massive uptick in value that stock holders of Motorala Mobility Inc. gained today, as these stockholders are largely huge investment banks and other insiders.

And although Mitt Romney might have tried to argue last week that “corporations are people," we the people are seeing more and more that the haves have more than the have-nots.

What price revolution? Can we short sell that?

Simon van Kempen and his wife, Alex McCord, are regular columnists for Metro. For all of Simon's blog posts, go here.

 
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