November 12, 2006

Google CEO sees free mobile phones, funded by ads

google_screen_search.03.jpg Web search leader Google Inc's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, sees a future where mobile phones are free to consumers who accept watching targeted forms of advertising. CNN reports.

"Schmidt said Saturday that as mobile phones become more like handheld computers and consumers spend as much as eight to 10 hours a day talking, texting and using the Web on these devices, advertising becomes a viable form of subsidy.

"Your mobile phone should be free," Schmidt told Reuters. "It just makes sense that subsidies should increase" as advertising rises on mobile phones".

... The Google executive said his own company had no plans to directly give away phones itself, nor is he aware of any effort by partners such as phone makers Nokia or Motorola or mobile operators like Vodafone to make such a radical move, he said.

Schmidt acknowledged that mobile phones may never become totally free to the consumer. Newspapers are still not completely free a hundred years after they started relying on advertising, but they certainly are inexpensive, he noted.

The company, which will derive virtually all of its expected $10 billion in revenue this year from selling text ads to computer users who use Google to search the Web, has said previously it expected mobile phone advertising to match computer-based ad revenue over time."

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