France Telecom's Richard downplays conflict with Google

France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard is changing his stance and believes that his company can partner with Internet content providers such as Google. Richard raised concerns a few months ago claiming that the larger Internet players were expecting mobile operators to make the huge network investments required to support mobile content traffic.

FT's relationship with Internet giants such as Google is not one of conflict, Richard told Dow Jones Newswires, adding that there is great potential for win-win partnerships.

This about-face comes hot on the heels of a  partnership deal FT signed with Google in which Google will use FT's network to provide services to consumers in Africa and the Middle East.T he new agreement will enable consumers in these regions to access services such as Gmail chat via FT Orange's text messaging in areas where Internet access via PCs is limited.

While this new rapport has yet to be tested, both parties have indicated a wish to extend the co-op deal to include other services in the future. No details have been made public as to the financial structure of the FT/Google partnership.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswire article
- see this additional Dow Jones Newswire article (sub. req.)

Related Articles:
Google moves to calm mobile operators, hints at network investment
FT Orange partners with BNP Paribas on m-banking initiative
Orange unveils new digital content and design unit
European operators enter 'co-op or compete' era
Vodafone CEO Colao rejects 'light-touch' Internet regulations

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