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Obama rumored tapping Google's Schmidt as Commerce Secretary

updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri March 18, 2011

Google's Schmidt may become Commerce Secretary

Numerous rumors have pinpointed Google's soon-to-be-outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt as a candidate for Secretary of Commerce. President Obama is reportedly close to picking the executive and could make the decision public within two weeks. SAI in picking up on discussions didn't name alternative candidates.

He would be available as of April 4, when Larry Page becomes Google CEO and Schmidt under current plans would be Executive Chairman.

Hints of a nomination have been few, but Reagan-era Commerce Department counsel Clyde Prestowitz declared earlier this week in Foreign Policy magazine that Schmidt would be good for the job.

Schmidt coming in would shoot down the prospect of current FCC head Julius Genachowski being moved into the role to get a firmer opinion on net neutrality. The motivations for choosing the Google executive weren't immediately mentioned, but his deep experience with a modern Internet-based economy and awareness of issues such as net neutrality might help him shape policy more effectively.

Controversies could come up with a Schmidt appointment. He may have bowed out from the CEO spot after a disagreement with Page and other Google co-founder Sergey Brin over the principles of staying in China. Brin has objected to China's hacking attempts to track down dissenters and was key to the partial exit, while Schmidt has seen China as too important to Google's bottom line to back out.

Google has usually argued in favor of net neutrality and might get a supporter in the Commerce Secretary spot. However, Google's decision to compromise its values for Verizon and help please its most important Android carrier has raised concerns that Schmidt may ultimately side with business over values when pressed to make a policy decision.

Consumer Watchdog, a public advocacy group, has also likened Schmidt taking the position to a fox running a henhouse, noting that he has often pushed the limits of legal or publicly acceptable privacy. The group has at times been criticized, however, for being obsessed with attacking Google while ignoring Bing, Yahoo, or other search firms.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    On one hand, it'd be nice to have a tech-savvy person in a high-ranking position like that, rather than out-of-touch dinosaurs. Based on Google's original values, he'd also be good for a lot of the things that more open-minded geek types support.

    Except in addition to things like his stance on China and Verizon, he's also flat-out creepy: "We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

    With quotes like that, you don't even need to infer anything. Yes, it's commerce secretary, but given the recent wiretapping policies of the government, a guy from the most personal-information-hungry datamining company on the planet is not someone I want anywhere near a cabinet position. I really hope he doesn't get tapped.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This could be refreshing - to have someone with real world business experience in the Narcissistic Community Organizer's administration. On the other hand, there's no evidence that He has ever listened to anyone in His cabinet.

    Is Schmidt a socialist? If so, he'll fit right in.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We Love You Eric.

    Good luck in your new posting!

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So I suppose, Mr. Strat, you'd rather have the people with business experience that were in the Bush Administration. All they did was sell out our natural resources for their friends' profit; turn a government budget surplus into large deficits; go to war over oil; tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop enforcing its safety regulations because nuclear plant owners were making less profits; and let Wall Street's Henry Paulson hoodwink Congress into bailing out the financial scammers.

    That's the kind of business leaders we need (if we ever recover from their last turn in power).

  1. guzzi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Way!

    Google already has too much connection with this government. No Thanks.

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