May 4, 2006 · Tim Wu
Over the next ten years or so, as others have said, a big platform war may not be as between Windows & Linux, but between computers and (deluxe) cell phones.
For Bellheads, the cell phone is in many ways a dream platform. It puts many of the sacred principles of closed infrastructures into place, including:
1. Limits on equipment attachments; (customers use approved cell phones);
2. Vertically integrated content & applications; (ringtones, etc.)
3. Pay-per-use, value added services (like “411 and more!”)
4. General freedom to bill;
5. Limited customizability or programability.
So the cell phone platform, if the Bells are right about innovation, should be just killer. As a revenue source, that’s true. Yet other than SMS, I guess, I just don’t see alot of apps other than voice.
The question is, would it make sense for a provider to experiment with an open cell platform? To make it easy for third party developers to offer applications to cell-users, without making some kind of deal?
Do principles like Network Neutrality make any sense for wireless? Or are conditions sufficiently different?