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What's Behind Google's Tactics?

A new lawsuit could shed some light. Plus, bringing off-shore insurance tactics to the U.S., and the rest of the day's news for entrepreneurs.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.

Is Google not playing fair? Well, that's what one Massachusetts-based technology company is saying. Skyhook Wireless is suing Google, arguing that the company used its control over its Android technology to "squelch a competitor," The New York Times notes. Last week, the Boston court released a "stack" of internal Google e-mails, which, apparently, are fairly cringe-worthy. In one e-mail, an Android manager said "we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want." Ouch. The Times rightly points out that many of the issues Google faces today are many of the same issues Microsoft faced two decades ago, but this newest lawsuit, the article notes, provides "a glimpse into the competitive tactics and decision-making inside a business that is crucial to the company's growth."

Building from the ground-up. For the first time in the company's history, Google is building its own offices from scratch, the San Jose Mercury-News reports. With the Googleplex bursting at the seams, the company purchased nearly 10 acres of land in Mountain View for $30 million, and has secured a deal to work with Germany's Ingenhoven Architects on "the most green, sustainable building possible," says Jordan Newman, a Google spokesman.

States loosening insurance rules. Call it freeing up the captives. The New York Times reports that a handful of states, such as Vermont, Utah, South Carolina, Delaware, and Hawaii, are "aggressively remaking themselves as destinations of choice for the kind of complex private insurance transactions once done almost exclusively offshore." The special insurance subsidiaries are called "captives," and are generally established by companies aiming to finance risk, and insure themselves. But now, insurance companies can sent them up, too—and don't have to go off-shore to Bermuda to do it. Thirty U.S. states now allow captives.

Venture capital vocab lesson. When an angel investor about to contribute major funding to your start-up venture says something emphatically, you agree. Emphatically. But what if said venture capitalist is talking about "pay-to-play provisions," and you have no idea what that means? Never fear, VentureBeat has your back. Starting in January, VentureBeat contributor Scott Edward Walker has explored some of the more mystifying terms your angel investor might throw around. Today, Walker defines pay-to-play provisions, gives example contracts, and addresses key issues founders might face when this term.

Patents pending. Still. With a record backlog of patent applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, businesses that depend on patents for their inventions are forced to wait years before receiving any attention, and the U.S. economy might be sufferings for it. In a column for The Huffington Post, Senator Chris Coons, a democrat from Delaware, endorses an innovative program called Track One, which would expedite patent examination and help businesses with time-sensitive patent applications—those critical to investment and creating new jobs—by fast-tracking them for consideration. This program could expedite "as many as 10,000 patent applications this year, Coons argues.

Groupon and LiveNation join forces. Groupon announced this morning that it has teamed up with Live Nation to offer a new online ticketing deal site called GrouponLive. Set to launch at the beginning of summer concert season, GrouponLive aims to attract entertaiment-seekers looking for discounts on local, high-value concerts, sports, theater and other live events. "By adding this channel to our ticketing platform, we will also provide our venue partners with another option for driving ticket sales across a wide range of events. Our success is based on selling tickets and filling seats and GrouponLive gives us another platform to achieve this," CEO of Live Nation Michael Rapino said in a statement.

No website? No problem. The Wall Street Journal reports that some small businesses are finding ways to build a vibrant online presence—without even having a website. "I haven't had a website now for six months and the business is growing," says Frank Bradley, owner of 3 Kids Bake House. By using blog-hosting services, business directories, and social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, some businesses are circumnavigating owning and managing their own site. Is that sustainable long-term? Might this be the beginning of freedom from servers crashing and programmer-hiring for the smallest of small businesses? Let us know what you think below.

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Last updated: May 9, 2011

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.




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