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Companies won't dominate the mobile world. No, not even Apple


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October 15, 2005

Companies won't dominate the mobile world. No, not even Apple

Stephen Baker

Reading Jeff Jarvis on the iPod and the future of mobile communications, I remembered a piece I wrote in Paris in 1999 where I was grappling with some of the same questions. I googled back to it to see what I got right, and what I missed.

I had the idea of the phone morphing into a computer that could tune in Internet radio and download "entire CDs" in a matter of seconds. I had the timing wrong. But my biggest miss was the way I viewed the world. Companies were in charge. I was not clued into the grassroots essence of the Web, the worlds of P2P, open source, blogs. So I was looking to Ericsson and Nokia to provide the magic, with Microsoft and Sony racing to catch up. I figured one of them would team up with Apple for branding and design smarts. It was a world run by companies.

That's not the world we're living in now. Smart companies are providing tools to let users create much of the magic, and I think those innovations, increasingly, will make their way into the world of hardware and objects. In a few years we'll be surrounded by a galaxy of converged mobile gadgets of all stripes, doing jobs and providing pleasures that we haven't even considered yet. And we'll look back on this time as a strange anomoly, a brief moment in history when one company, Apple, seemed to represent the promise and the power of mobile entertainment.

12:53 PM

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Interesting notion...has the world population evolved into a critical mass of do-it-yourselfers? I think this is a good thing and I didn't think of it till I read your post. I'll have to think about it some more and possibly blog it myself. Thanks for the interesting idea.

Posted by: Lionel at October 15, 2005 05:31 PM

In a world with a galaxy of choices ??? tower of techno babel- it is the company which can simplify content distribution and consumption that'll win the day. Which company could that be? Hmm...

Posted by: Empty Tank at October 15, 2005 11:42 PM

A good thing? Perhaps, but much will be lost in this media morph we are giving ourselves:

http://spaceygreview.blogspot.com/2005/08/death-of-urbanity.html

Posted by: Grayson at October 16, 2005 08:33 AM

Empty tank, do you really see one company simplifying content distribution and consumption? The way I see it, companies are increasing teaming up to create standards for such things. And if it were one company, would it be a company that's defending a proprietary system? I don't think so.

Posted by: steve baker at October 16, 2005 10:30 AM

Steve,

yes, I know it doesn't make sense, but given a profussion of choices, IMHO, I believe people will go with the more elegant, simpler solution -- whomever can provide such a solution. If millions of individuals could collaborate to bring about a simpler, more elegant world -- great! But if it takes the brilliance of one single company to do it, so be it. Would you be opposed to the cure of cancer because a single individual, after years of hard work and research, has found the cure and he/she will market the product?

Anyway, there is no impediment that I know of that prevents individual companies from plugging into standards; if not leading the adoption of those same standards.

I ask, which is the business model and ecosystems (in a world of infinite choice) that will develop the products and services that will make our quality of life simply better? Well, look at the products and services we live with. Look at the way they empower the individual; the ways they add value and joy to our lives.

It is not as if one company will preempt, nor want to deter, other companies from developing their own competing solutions. After all, people can still choose. This is about brilliance and hard work in behalf of society. Being the best. Isn't that what America is all about?

"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit." Mathew 12:33.

Indeed, look at the products and ye shall know the company; and ye shall have your answer. Peace.

Posted by: Empty Tank at October 16, 2005 07:13 PM


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