What would have happened to the "personal" computer, if computer manufacturers had been permitted to lock down the computer completely? Actually, that's exactly what Apple and a number of other manufacturer's attempted to do. At the end of the 90's nearly all of them failed as businesses or adapted their business models (Apple did neither). The reason that companies with that business model failed is that they were trying to control too much, and in the end companies that succeeded (M$) learned to let other companies deal with certain areas (hardware) while they focused on what they knew (software).
The thing that I find funny about all of this is that ATT, Verizon, whatever carrier we're talking about, is that all of them are focusing their efforts outside of their actual service which is providing communication access (historically telephones, but now with VOIP it's all just internet access). I find all of this to be very similiar to if Comcast were to tell me what operating systems I could and could not use on my personal computer... Which is nonsense. The service provider should ONLY be able to dictate the protocols to use and the guidelines associated with the protocols/service provided, which should not include the operating system or applications on the device that is leveraging the service.
The tech business models that have failed in the past will fail in the future. I say let them eat cake. Let congress allow these companies to do this, I'm confident the internet will respond with new and more interesting alternatives than purchasing a device that you never really own (isn't that called leasing?).
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