Tech Giants Behave Like Nations
eBay boycott shows how 'social contract' can be mishandled
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 4:45 PM CST
In this photo provided by eBay, incoming Chief Executive John Donahoe in shown. Donahoe will become the new CEO after longtime Chief Executive Meg Whitman plans to retire at the end of March. (AP Photo/eBay,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A comparison of two of this week’s big tech news stories, the end of an eBay boycott and Google’s announcement of the construction of a new trans-Pacific fiber optic cable, show how the tech giants have moved beyond old corporate paradigms, writes Michael Malone for ABC News. With business models that involve unprecedented consumer participation, these companies behave increasingly like sovereign nations.

They must treat the “social contract” with their most involved consumers as deferentially as their bottom line, which eBay’s flippant reaction to the boycott shows it didn't understand. Google, Malone writes, has done a better job relating to its consumer/participants, and has also managed to stay focused on vital business needs, like the cheap bandwidth its new cable will soon provide.