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Before all you passionate right-to-privacy folks flood my e-mail inbox, hear me out first.

Google’s refusal to comply with a federal subpoena to turn over one week’s worth of search inquiries is not for some higher cause to protect customer information. Google is not complying because there is no money in it, plain and simple.

Even though some would like to believe the search engine giant is just protecting its customers’ personal information and privacy, Google is not cooperating with the government because there is no immediate benefit to its top line to do so. Not to mention, it is also currently en vogue to jump on the anti-government wagon, especially as it relates to privacy. Google is the poster child for American capitalism and angst all rolled into one.

To be honest, I am at a crossroads here when it comes to what Google should do, and I am in no way suggesting what direction the company should take. The Department of Justice claims it needs the information to prove that filtering technology is not an effective way of stopping children from reaching pornographic Web sites.

As a father, I want the DOJ to turn over every rock and peek into every nook and cranny to make sure children, my children, cannot accidentally stumble upon pornographic images that will forever be burned into their precious brains and to protect them from sexual predators that exploit the power of the Internet to reach their prey.

On the other hand, I have been a journalist for 16-plus years now and I am part of one of the largest and most respected technology publishing companies, and I believe strongly in protecting people’s privacy and making a stand for a cause.

So what I am questioning here is Google’s motives. Just follow the money. Google is more about protecting its precious trade secrets than your search fetishes. After all, the company has just agreed to censorship restrictions in China. This is a huge compromise to get a share of the enormous development market over there. How can you be for privacy and for censorship at the same time? The answer is you can’t unless your motive is purely dollars and cents.

How does this relate to the channel? Let me explain.

You can tell a lot about an individual by the company he keeps. Likewise, you can tell a lot about an organization by the companies with which it conducts business. A company driven solely by greed does not a good bedfellow make.

If you are a solution provider looking to do business with Google and bet your future on aligning with the company, think again.

Good vendor partners invest in programs that will increase the entire value chain, and that includes their solution provider partners as well. Good vendor partners do not speak out of both sides of their mouths and say one thing and do another. Good vendor partners can be trusted to do what is right for their solution providers and customers because they know it is good business in the long run.

Just look at the sorry state of Apple’s channel affairs right now. It is evident that trying to leverage the strengths of the channel while building a potent direct sales force that will ultimately undercut said channel is a recipe for disaster and will not work.

While Google is currently trying to win over integrators for what I consider a badly baked-out channel program, it is at the same time showing very publicly what its true colors are. Agree? Disagree? I am all ears.

Elliot Markowitz is editor at large at The Channel Insider. He is also editorial director of Ziff Davis Media eSeminars. He can be reached at