from the is-it-really-necessary? dept
As we've discussed before there are a lot of complicating factors here, and perhaps the biggest issue is that it's unclear that government regulation is really necessary. Early on, all the mobile operators tried to focus on completely walled gardens, not allowing users to access the wider internet. However, most operators have realized that was a mistake and have pulled away from that model (and benefited for it). There will be a greater and greater realization that this actually makes the most sense for mobile operators anyway, and there's no reason to think that it should require immediate government assistance. We're already seeing companies like Google pressure the market to be more open and certainly there's plenty of consumer demand there. That means this is really more of an opportunity for mobile operators to embrace this kind of model than one that requires gov't intervention. In the immediate future, there are technical limitations, but if you follow the direction that next generation wireless networks are taking, it should become less and less of an issue over time. On the flip side, if we do bring the government in to mandate openness, you risk a situation where a bunch of politicians without an understanding of either the technologies or the trends are pressured to make laws that will eventually have a detrimental effect (and, don't kid yourselves, the telco lobby will make sure those laws favor the telcos in the long run). Since I agree with Mossberg and many others that there could be much more innovation by embracing openness, I would like to see it happen. But I'm optimistic enough to recognize that market pressures should help drive us there without risky gov't intervention. The real breakthrough will be when one of the mobile operators steps forward and embraces these concepts on its own.