Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Sweet Spot (aka One Web to Rule them All)

Let's review the bidding.  Right now we've  got three of them: Apple, Google and Facebook.  Only three but it's still fluid, and anarchic, still wild west.  You know that because they still try to cater to you, to give you stuff (or seem to).   Even when they charge you, they still try to go through the motions of making it seem "fair."  They still try to make you feel like you are part of the enterprise--an "associate," or a "colleague," as in "the new name for working grunt in a low level service job."

But this cannot last.  Sooner or later--no, strike that, sooner--we're going to reach some kind of stasis, and then we find out what the meaning of the word "inventory" really is.

In a first draft of this squib, I tried write about how we are in a death-struggle cage match and that one (only one) of the big three can possibly survive.  One slips on a banana peel, one trips on his own shoelace, and we re left with--one.   But then almost by accident, I described the big three as "networks."  Yes, that's a pretty good name for them: "networks," social and otherwise.  And you remember networks?  We used to have networks.  And we had three of them.  Except we didn't: we had one with three heads, engaged in a perfunctory exercise of faux "competition," while they all cooperated in working out the same agenda on the same platform.   Networks, as in "the networks," and for most purposes, we didn't need to differentiate.

So at the moment, I'm not so sure.  We might end up just one indigestible  behemoth called AppGoBook.  Or we might end up with a  network of networks, and it'll come down to the same thing.

One consequence of the inevitable coalescence is that it will serve to redefine other issues that we think of as unrelated today.    Consider the IP thugs: SOPA PIPA ACTA and whatever is gestating in the acronymic incubator.  Up to now, we think of "the entertainment industry" as the villains of the IP story, while the net giants stand for "freedom" (the ghost of Steve Jobs emits a maniacal  cackle).     But once the positioning is over, the networks and the IP goons will discover that they are  natural allies, as they morph from "online piracy" into "stop anything on the internet that the animals don't pay for." Drones? Hey, Zuckerberg would love drones... 

To repeat: this "pretend we are all co-venturers" phase can last only a little longer and then we are all back in the dutifully receptive role where, apparently since the end of the Pleistocene, we were all  meant to be.  So enjoy the sweet spot while you can, bunkies and remember: the pony express lasted just 18 months.  


Anonymous said...

You forgot the Big Enchilada.

Remember, Amazon has the content.

Ken said...

Instead of AppGoBook, it may be Googlezon leading to EPIC. (This has been floating around for eight years or so...

New York Crank said...

Next time you run this, would you plese cuit in the line of despair about dealing with people "who learned about life from Bugs Bunny"?

Or just freeze frame on Faye. I'd forgotten what a knockout she was.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank.