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Google boss: How private interests threaten the Internet

Google chairman emeritus Eric Schmidt talks about the big companies that increasingly control information, and the threat they pose to American Internet users

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt talks about competition and the Internet's movement to handheld devices and "the death of IT as we know it" at today's AllThingsD conference. Watch Schmidt, Netflix boss Reed Hastings and others here. Excerpts from Schmidt: 

"There are four companies which are exploiting platform strategies very well... Google... Apple, Amazon, Facebook. Each of them is a consumer brand... that provides something that you can't do otherwise...

How Facebook beat Google in social media: "Facebook has done a number of things which I admire... In the Internet we missed something, which was identity... Each of the companies that I mentioned have managed to use very modern concepts of computer science and very very aggresive scaling approahces to get large fairly quickly."

On fighting Apple: "Music is fundamental now from an entertainment, from a branding, from an experiential level on all of these devices... We had been attempting to convince the music industry to support a subscription model around cloud based services... You have to go from a strategy where you charge a lot for a small number of copies to charging a little for a large number of copies... People are bypassing studios and going directly to digital rights...

On privacy: "Google will remain a place where you can do anonymous searches... We tell people what we know and we give them the choice of getting it deleted." 

On America's corporate-controlled Internet: "I'm most concerned with what's happening to the Internet as a whole. I'm very concerned that the sum of the economic interests that lead to the Internet, the investment and all that kind of stuff stuff, will ultimately lead to a Balkanization of the Internet" between Google Android, Apple iPhone and the remaining Web-based providers. "As the Internet becomes more controversial, as the lack of harmony between diff laws that set privacy, publicity, access to infomation, I'm very concerned we will end up with an Internet-poor country."