David Jolly from the NY Times:
Free’s shock to advertisers was widely seen as an attack on Google, and is part of the larger, global battle over the question of who should pay to deliver information on the Web — content providers or Internet service providers. An attempt to rewrite the rules failed at the December talks of the International Telecommunication Union in Dubai, after the United States and other nations objected to a proposal that, among other measures, would have required content providers to pay. […] But he (Xavier Niel, Free's CEO) has often complained that Google’s content, which includes the ever expanding YouTube video library, occupies too much of his network’s bandwidth, or carrying capacity. “The pipelines between Google and us are full at certain hours, and no one wants to take responsibility for adding capacity,” he said during an interview last year with the newsmagazine Nouvel Observateur. “It’s a classic problem that happens everywhere, but especially with Google.”
I’m pretty sure Xavier Niel knew exactly what he was getting into when he released this. He decided to attack Google mainly and he targeted its heart, where the money comes from: ads.
Free has been restraining Youtube’s bandwidth on his network for a bit now. The move was supposed to provoke Google, but it did not work. Google refuses to finance Free’s investments for bigger tubes. Instead, internet users critisise Free when Free wanted to point out Google’s fault.
With this affair, Niel is able to create a thunderstorm and involve the government. Let’s see if he gets what he wants: money from Google.