Tuesday, October 16, 2001

New Handspring Devices I really like the new devices Handspring has put together. They seem to understand that person-to-person communication is more compelling than broadcast content, and are working to make that easier. Unfortunately, telco carriers have made a complete mess of spectrum and interoperability in their mad quest for "owning the customer" and "not being a dumb pipe." Their totemic fixation on controlling the network means they haven't thought carefully about how to maximize profit from their network.

Music Monopoly The government has started an antitrust investigation into exclusionary licensing plays by the music publishing oligoploy. But music publishers have every incentive to license their music as widely as possible, just as they're happy Virgin Megastore sells CDs from all labels. The real collusion here is over transmission and playback standards, something allowed by current copyright law. And this is more a battle between RealNetworks and Microsoft, who support MusicNet and PressPlay respectively. Microsoft is using much of the publishing industry as patsies to extend its desktop monopoly into the creation, transmission, and playback of all digital goods. The music industry does not understand this, as it scrambles to maximize control over (instead of profit from) its network.


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