Meet Prof Who Gave Google Its Big Ideas

Tim Wu pioneered net neutrality, inspired new smartphone initiative
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 4:39 PM CST
A Google sign inside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. is seen in this May 30, 2007 file photo. Confirming its long-rumored foray into the cell phone market, Google Inc. will give away a software...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Google’s newly revealed Open Handset Alliance, which gives smartphone developers and consumers new freedom to match phones, carriers, and apps, found inspiration in the philosophy of cyberlaw trailblazer Tim Wu. The Columbia Law professor is on the vanguard of the net-neutrality conversation, arguing that Internet providers and wireless networks should act like neutral public utilities, barred from prioritizing or denying access, BusinessWeek reports.

Wu came to the topic as a tech developer whose products “were designed to control the Internet." Now he rails against corporate interference and believes openness spurs innovation. He helped to design wireless airwaves auctions and drafted the first net-neutrality rules. A top Googler says “Tim helped us catalyze a strategy” when the company’s applications were routinely blocked from phones.