Tales of the Sausage Factory

Verizon Open Platform: Looks Like A Big Bid For C Block and A Shout Out To Tim Wu

Tearing myself away for a moment from the drama and bitter disappointment of today’s cable vote, we have an announcement from Verizon that it will offer an “open platform” option for its wireless services. According to the news reports, starting in 2008, VZ will publish a standard for connecting to their network, host a conference for developers, work with developers, set up a testing lab to ensure that devices meet the standard and won’t harm the network, and allow devices to connect to the network. They also promise not to interfere with any application running on the device.

They pledge to make this available on the whole network. Not “just on a portion of the network, or a piece of spectrum that may become available after 2009.” For tech support, if you are a “bring your own device,” you can call VZ to make sure your device is connected but you are otherwise on your own.

Verizon says they are doing this in response to market demand. Rumors that this is an effort to head off regulation or declares an interest in C Block are baseless speculations of undisciplined internet bloggers like yr hmbl obdn’t. But they do stress several times on this press call that this is all about the market working, just as terminating early termination fees had nothing to do with regulatory pressure, so there is obviously no need to regulate.

Maybe. But while I’m certainly glad to see Verizon come around to my way of thinking that openness is the ultimate “killer app,” I think credit is due to three other events that helped Verizon see the light on openness: Tim Wu’s incredibly important paper on wireless Carterfone last February; Kevin Martin’s decision to put an “open devices” condition on the 22-MHz “C Block” licenses in the upcoming 700 MHz auction; and the iPhone hearing last July, where Congress made it clear they didn’t like the idea of locking desirable devices to a single provider.

Why? See below . . . .

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Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 9: How Do You Make Money?

Last time: “Killer Apps,” in which I claimed that it was possible to engineer an application that had good characteristics for success within its chosen market, rather than just having to count on “built it and they will come.”
Now: What are the ways that revenue can be produced from a Killer App on an open-source platform?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 8: Killer Apps

Last time: “Give ‘Em What They Want,” in which I said that having a desirable application “from the beginning” is necessary to promote a platform.
Now: Sounds good, but how do we go about creating such a scenario? We engineer it!

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

KISS

It is being reported that the guys at Smallthought have gotten some funding for their DabbleDB product. That’s cool.

I like the core capability: multiple-view, spreadsheet-like shared-Web access to arbitrary user-created databases. That is, server-side Web2.0 plus Group Forming Network math, as applied to databases. Built on Smalltalk.

I also think this is a nice example of building a small and simple downmarket application, and then using modest revenues to build features to head upmarket on top of your core capability. (Christensen, Moore, etc.) The eventual target presumably being Oracle’s PeopleSoft.

I’m surprised that they they took as much money as they did this early. I think this is good, but not a change-the-world killer app. Lots of folks can do this. (Laszlo (where John works) and Curl (where John and I used to work) should approach stuff this way rather than chasing the enterprise from the start.) Maybe Web-Winter is thawing?

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Inventing the Future

components

The computer spreadsheet doesn’t get enough credit among computer programmers. I think that more than any other one concept, VisiCalc, 1-2-3, and Excel were the killer app for the personal computer. As a programmer, I have tended first to think of formulae and calculation mechanisms when I think of spreadsheets, but the UI and development style are perhaps more significant. For each individual cell, you can look at the value, the formula, or the formatting, and change each through a menu. You can incrementally build up quite a complex application all on your own, never leaving the very environment you use to view the results. Why doesn’t all software work this way, only better? That’s what I’m working on.

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Posted in Brie, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)
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