Tim Wu, who first coined the phrase “net neutrality”, can be seen and heard discussing the Internet in context with information market history in a recent speech titled The Rise And Fall Of Information Empires on YouTube.
Tim is author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.
You can also listen to his information market observations during an audio interview with WABC radio host John Batchelor.
Tim again speaks in more detail during an interview with KERA’s Krys Boyd.
One message is that information markets — movies, telephone, radio, data — seem to devolve from open to closed. This leads to
- lack of innovation
- inflated prices
He points out that Bell Labs invented a (steel) tape recorder – based telephone answering machine in 1931 but didn’t develop it because they feared that it would reduce revenue from Bell’s operating companies. (Sounds like Kodak: they hid their invention of the digital camera because they feared that it would kill their photographic film business.)
According to Mr. Wu, “People are all the same: when they’re not in charge, they favor competition. When they’re in charge, they hate competition.”
Another message is that ownership of content and transport medium (“the pipes” that deliver content) should be kept separated.
If you’re interested in the history of American radio broadcasting, there’s no finer book than Tom Lewis’ Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio. I loved learning about the giants: David Sarnoff, Lee De Forest, and Edwin Armstrong.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695