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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Google
April 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Google’s Southern strategy

The first paragraph from the Charlotte Observer’s story might make one think that the South is getting ready to stick it to the high-tax, high-regulation West Coast again: “Google on Friday announced a $600 million expansion of its Lenoir data center, a development state and local officials trumpeted as proof of North Carolina’s attractiveness to high-tech companies.”

Not exactly. Remember that Google is expanding its campus in Kirkland with plans to hire another 1,000 engineering and other highly skilled employees. The North Carolina deal promises 150 jobs, people to babysit the vast complex of servers and other equipment. Winning Google there in the first place required 30 years of state and local tax breaks valued at $260 million, one of the priciest incentive packages in state history. Not only that, but the rural location is hours from Research Triangle Park, where the state is a formidable competitor with talent and start-up ideas fed by the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University.

Needy states bid against each other for data centers, which can be the slag heaps of the technology business with serious issues about high energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and whether the few jobs created are worth the massive giveaways the companies receive. In the “Don’t Be Evil” mode, Google has promised to work with Duke Energy to use renewable energy. Duke is a major nuclear-power utility.


Comments | More in Boeing, Google

March 22, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Vote: Is the economy getting better for you

The stock market is up and housing sales are recovering. Unemployment remains stubbornly high and mandatory government cutbacks will be kicking in with the sequestration. Job openings increased slightly in January, but there are 3.3 job seekers for every position. The Seattle area is booming; the rest of Washington, not so much. Today’s poll asks how you are faring personally compared with six months ago:

Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:


Comments | More in, Global economy, Gold and precious metals, Google, Great Recession, H1-B skilled foreign worker visas, Income/living standards, Jobs/Unemployment, Nordstrom, Outlook

November 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Who pays for the news?

European news organizations want France, Germany and Italy to charge Google for using their content in search results. Quelle horreur!, cries Google. The freedom of the Internet will be compromised! But this is the default position of simplificateurs terribles.

The newspaper world has killed itself with many self-inflicted cuts. One of the worst was giving away news content for free. To be sure, subscribers historically paid for only a fraction of a newspaper’s revenues, but they did pay. Quality journalism isn’t free. It can’t be “crowd sourced” or produced by “citizen journalists” working for free, or even cheap youngsters. When I was a business editor, it took 10 years to create a seasoned, top-of-her-game business journalist.

No disrespect, but companies such as Google are thieves and parasites on the work of real journalists (and other content originators), profiting from it but not expecting to pay. The same is true for the hundreds (thousands?) of Web sites that either aggregate content or simply comment based on the serious journalism produced by real journalists. If all the newspapers shut down tomorrow, the Web would soon run out of real news to talk about. Meanwhile, outfits such as Google would quickly unchain the lawyers if anyone stole their proprietary information.


Comments | More in Google, Journalism