Google could have waited until the bandwidth costs and the lawsuits from Viacom ate them alive. Remember, Youtube hasn't even become profitable yet. Google already had a capable clone. They just lacked the community because they were a late arrival.
If Google's Sergey, Larry, or Schmidt were as ruthless as Zuckerberg, I have no doubt that Youtube would have been left to die.
I doubt every other company on that list could have made it successful. Even Google with all its "dark fiber" bandwidth has not been able to make it profitable after 4 years.
Viacom is simply not interested in running a money losing venture, otherwise they would have bought Joost instead of partnering with them. Disney didn't need the Youtube brand when they already invested heavily in go.com back in 1998. Look what happened to Hotmail dominance after Microsoft bought it. And what is Apple's experience with web apps?
Google didn't buy Youtube out of goodness of their hearts. If it wasn't them, I'm sure there was plenty of other companies that were looking to purchase, and I'm sure at least some of them have the necessary resources to deal with bandwidth/legal issues
I never said Google bought Youtube out of kindness.
I said that Google had the option of letting Youtube weaken, and buy them at a discount...or fully letting them die out and have Google Video dominate. Each decision with a different risk/reward ratio. They chose the lowest risk/reward since $1.6 billion is probably a relative drop in the bucket for them.