A very strange country (re Skype, FCC and the Mobile industry)

March 28, 2007 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

Last week at VON we ended up having a lively discussion around “disrupting the wireless ecosystem”

I chose to be a bit provocative – and started with the following story

So – I visited a country recently, which had a very strange computer industry:
Due to regulatory history, there were only Four computer distribution chains. Which had shops all over the country. And chose which manufactures to sell and which models they promote. People were practically forced to buy from the four chains – no independent computer resellers or direct to consumer.

And the four distributors also controlled which software was installed on the computers – from the “Start menu” to the actual applications. On most computers, the full software stack was controlled by the distributors – users were not allowed to choose or download applications.

Not only that, but the “Four” also provided the consumers with Internet service – and while doing so also decided which sites you can browse for free, and which ones you have to pay extra to go to. They even collected part of the websites revenues for allowing users to access the sites.

Kind of a scary model. Especially if you are used to the notion of Free markets and capitalism. And technology innovation.

Hmm

Then I asked the audience which country I was speaking of? China? USSR? Iran?

No – I am talking about the US. And the Wireless industry.

Handsets are becoming our “hand held” computers. Already today, a handset typically has more processing power then yor Windows 95 machine had (Yes – go and compare the spec of 100MHZ 16MB RAM 486 machine with a handset that has ARM9, 200MHZ, Multimedia accelerator, camera and 64/64MB RAM).

If in 95 we spent a few hours a day in front of the computer, the handsets are our 24/7 computers and connections to the information highway. And it is being strictly controlled by four congolmerates through the result of outdated regulations. The battle for Net Neutrality should not be thought with the wireless providers – it has mostly been won there. Thereal Net Neutrality battle should be fought on the wireless front.

Which is why the Skype petition to the FCC is so critical. More on that later on.

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Entry filed under: Devices, Mobile, Technology.

The Skype petition to the FCC Nokia N800 – going where ?

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