geert lovink on Sat, 12 Apr 2003 07:21:19 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> "The Rise of Infrastructure Socialism"

(Dear nettimers, is this relavant? I find it hard to judge. In this
political climate is it not easy to distinguish between sheer madness of
some sad and marginalized crowd of tech consultants and the very real
influence that neo-conservative foundations such as cato, heritage and free
enterprise have on the Bush administration. Anyway, this is their latest
topic: an attack against 'forced sharing' and the rise of 'infrastructure
socialism'. I love that term. I wished it existed. Some of the elements are
wellknown such as the neo-conservative criticism of the FCC. But it is also
clearly targeted against Linux, free software and open source, and p2p
networks in defense of Microsoft, AOL, SUN and other IT companies. Geert)

April 11, 2003

Dear TechKnowledge Reader:

In a new book from the Cato Institute, What's Yours Is Mine: Open Access and
the Rise of Infrastructure Socialism, authors Adam Thierer and Clyde Wayne
Crews Jr. examine the hazards of mandatory "open access"-a new trend in
which hyper-regulatory bureaucrats and central planners are increasingly
commanding technology companies and industry sectors to share networks,
facilities, or specific technologies with rivals.

Telephone and cable companies, wireless carriers, electric utilities, AOL's
Instant Messenger service, the Visa/Mastercard network, Microsoft's Windows
operating system-all these and more have been targets of demands for forced
access. Although supporters claim that open access is pro-competitive, the
opposite is true. Forced access policies inevitably mean price and quality
controls, stagnation, increased litigation, and a crippling of innovation.

Genuine competition requires that firms have the ability to exclude rivals.
Government seizure of existing networks or technologies on behalf of rivals
means that next- generation technologies will not be created by those rivals
or the incumbents. The recent decision by the FCC to continue such
micro-management of local telecom markets illustrates this principle;
regulators have opted to continue to require sharing of local telephone
lines and switches despite the fact that those rules have decimated
innovation and investment in the U.S. telecom market.

The key message for policymakers hoping for a high-tech renaissance:
Competition in the creation of networks is as important as competition in
the goods and services that get sold across those networks. Competition,
innovation, and consumers will suffer if forced sharing policies are not
abandoned. In today's world of increasing global communications and digital
technologies, What's Yours Is Mine makes an urgently needed pro-consumer
case for laissez-faire in the evolution of technology industries.

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Issue 101.0/April 11, 2003

THE WEEK/Disruption in the Age of Cheap
Another year, another eclectic gathering of technologists, investors, and
gurus from the storage and networking industries, to assess the state of
disruption and innovation in the converging worlds of storage and
bandwidth. But this one was different.

It was the third iteration of Storewidth, a conference that's turned out
(quite unintentionally, for certain) to parallel  "three awful years in the
IT industry," as Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard noted in his introduction.
He also set a tone for the event by citing what he's now calling the "cheap
revolution," led by such rising stars as Google, running on 12,000 cheap
PCs and the free Linux operating system. Another example: "Sun's biggest
competitor today is eBay, selling one-year old servers." The warning is
clear, said Karlgaard: "Never judge the health of this industry by the
leading companies."

Storewidth has survived in a difficult conference environment because its
relevance won't go away. It's focused on a technology truism that no
economic turndown can stop, and a need so great--data growth that's more
than doubling every year--that it simply can't be ignored or put off. The
enterprise, increasingly running on networks, is finding storage the
fastest growing, most time-consuming application on those networks. And,
with budgets flat while storage doubles, it's no stretch to say trouble is
brewing.  "It's now legions of people and bucketloads of Tylenol," said
Jonathan Martin of Veritas.

Graeme Thickins, Founder & Principal Consultant of GT&A Strategic Marketing
Inc. kindly offers a review of Storewidth 2003.  See what you missed, and
why you should be there next year.

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