While Google was putting on a spectacle for developers in -- and above -- San Francisco's Moscone Center last week, more important news was being hatched around a legal table far away from its big I/O confab.
The actual text of the letter from Google Chairman Eric Schimdt to Almunia remains under wraps, though a spokesman for the company has acknowledged its existence. "We have made a proposal to address the four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns," Google said in a statement e-mailed to CNET and the rest of the world. "We continue to work cooperatively with the Commission."
Read into that what you will, but until now, Google has only bristled at allegations that it offers better rankings for its products compared with those from rivals and thus, thwarts competition. So if Google does alter its algorithms as part of a deal, the suspicion will be that perhaps Google was doing something untoward all along.
And you know what? Google will still come out smelling like a rose.
The company's PR mavens know that the public has the attention span of a Higgs Boson particle. People are more interested in hearing about the next incarnation of Android or when Google will be able to bring a pair of fancy-dancy glasses to consumers. So what if the regulators force Google to eat a slice of humble pie? With one pen stroke on the dotted line, Google will eliminate the prospect of messy and protracted legal confrontations -- on both sides of the pond -- as Google now has to worry about the Federal Trade Commission, which is still sniffing around for evidence that the company has unfairly thrown around its weight.
This was something Microsoft could never bring itself to do.