Our Topsy-Turvy Tech World

by on December 22, 2009 · 9 comments

Gee, if only the technology sector weren’t so gosh-darn static and slow-to-change, maybe we wouldn’t need government to keep tinkering with the market to make sure big, bad incumbents didn’t reign on high, oppressing us with their monopolistic control of our cyber-lives. But since the Big just keep getting bigger and “network effects” make it impossible for new competitors to get in the game, it’s a good thing we have so many Federal agencies looking out for us poor consumers (FCC, FTC, DOJ, NTIA, etc.) with antitrust interventions, common carriage mandates and 1000 other regulatory “tweaks”—not to mention all those oh-so-tech-savvy state legislators and attorneys general, always eager to leap into action!  “Fire, ready, aim, boys!

I mean after all, it’s only a matter of time before Time Warner/AOL uses their combined $100 billion might as “gatekeepers” to digitally enslave us all, right?  Oh, wait…

Uh, yeah, well never mind… As Adam and I have noted:

In the high-tech sector more than any other, disruptive innovation makes it difficult for even the most successful companies to stay on top forever. Competitive entry—or even the threat of new entry—provides a powerful check on the power of so-called “gatekeepers,” but even more important is the prospect that today’s leaders will be tomorrow’s laggards: There’s little reason to think Google (search and advertising), Apple (smart phones and music) and Facebook (social networking) won’t someday find themselves playing catch-up, just as IBM (computers), Microsoft (desktop software and search), Friendster and MySpace (social networking), and Yahoo! and AOL (web portals) have had to do.

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