Could Apple, Google and Intel Save Net Neutrality?
Something potentially very important may be happening for the future of the Internet and Net Neutrality: online video broadcasting: participation and interactive television. It could portend an end of the current Comcast and Time Warner monopoly behavior, attempting to consolidate control, and essentially to censor content, by controlling both the carrier pipe and by prioritizing their own content, to the detriment of others seeking access to “the pipe” to broadcast their own content.
A number of online journalists and bloggers have been writing recently about the potential for the Silicon Valley Big Three to change the Internet monopoly game. Let’s hope that they are right. Posts going back to 2012 have rhetorically asked, “Could Google Save Net Neutrality?“ This week Mark Suster has posted on TechCrunch: “Participation: The Trend That is Bigger Than Harlem Shake.” Both of these writers are potentially on to something big, IMHO. Suster even cites Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen‘s book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, to make the point that the Net Neutrality battle may be at an Andy Grove strategic inflection point that could be shifting in favor of net neutrality.
The key development may be Psy, Gangman Style, The Harlem Shake, and the entry of Apple, Google and Intel into the streaming multimedia space, as providers of interactive, participatory content. Comcast view these players as threats to their monopoly dominance. The telecom mindset lives in a parallel universe that cannot even imagine what Apple, Google and Intel are planning. Fortunately, in my mind, we have the right three Twenty-First Century players, with very deep pockets, prepared to do battle with the Nineteenth Century telecoms, to insure that the future of the Internet evolves as we all know that it should.
I have been thinking and stressing about Net Neutrality and the power of the giant telecom monopolies for some time. Yale University Law Professor Susan Crawford has also written a book, subtitled “The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power In the New Gilded Age.” Having heard Professor Crawford speak, and having posted her remarks here on this blog, her arguments are compelling. My own experience with the domestic telecom industry over the years only adds to my concern. The new telecom monopoly of the Internet, following after its free and open roots, reflects the current dominance of Wall Street and its apparent disregard for democracy: a New Gilded Age of Monopoly, harking back to the age of Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller. Ironically PBS American Masters this week broadcast a retrospective biography of Rockefeller and Standard Oil, just in case we have forgotten after 100 years.