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OpenMarket: Cord Blomquist

  • Muncipal Wi-Fi Plans Imploding

    September 20, 2007
    USA Today reports that Municipal Wi-Fi plans across the nation continue to collapse under the pressure of economic reality. Schemes such as those proposed in Chicago and San Francisco simply don't make good business sense, which is why they have been abandoned.

    I don't think citizens of these would-be wireless utopias should be upset over the loss of their Wi-Fi blanket, however. Most of these arrangements involved giving exclusive access to city rights of way to one company, creating a new generation of Ma' Bells--a very dystopian vision. Getting in bed with the government is a bad idea for business, especially network industries, because as time goes by they lose their autonomy and become an atrophied public utility. So though Wi-Fi might give consumers more choice, it's just another bad choice....
  • Microsoft's EU Antitrust Case on 1460 KION with Mark Carbonaro

    September 20, 2007
    Following the EU Court of First Instance decision in the Microsoft antitrust appeal I appeared on Mark Carbonaro's radio program on 1460 KION in Monterey, CA. We discuss the absurdity of antitrust law, how consumers in the EU aren't benefiting from the original ruling, and how the EU will ironically use this case as a precedent for suing some of the companies that are most able to compete with Microsoft.


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  • Yahoo Mail is Real Competition for GMail

    September 19, 2007
    As the US and EU regulators bear down on Google we're already seeing changes in the marketplace where the Googlers currently have the lead. Yahoo! is catching up to Google with several innovations in its email client. Unlimited Storage, a built in RSS reader (not separate and clunky with a just-added search function), push email for the iPhone, better contacts that syncs with the iPhone, built in SMS, and drag and drop functionality are all unique to Yahoo! mail, at least for the moment. There's no doubt that GMail will catch-up, but that's exactly what competition is meant to do, force competitors to improve or perish. Read more about it at LifeHacker.

    Hat tip to my colleague Wayne Crews for sending me the link.
  • Competition Improves Privacy, Finds MP3s

    September 13, 2007
    Not the freshest news in the world, but I found it interesting when I discovered today that that Ask.com offers a service called AskEraser which allows users to use its service anonymously. That's right, no longer do you have to be tracked by the Googleplex to search the net--the search isn't half-bad either for all but the most esoteric topics.

    Google has similar privacy features, but it's a bit harder to use it--and many other search engines--totally anonymously. Obviously Ask.com is adopting a strategy of differentiation, rather than head-on competition, to beat the monolith of Mountain View.

    In other search news, I was surprised to learn that AltaVista still exists (who has used this since 1998?) and I was even more surprised...
  • Unlocking the iPhone and the Death of Exclusivity

    August 28, 2007
    Is it even possible for companies to strike exclusive deals when teams of nerds across the country have been at work on hacking the iPhone since it's release in late June? Engadget declared the Apple/AT&T exclusivity deal dead at noon on Friday, so sorry if this story is a little old, but now that media outlets like Wired, BusinessWeek, and CNN are covering the story, I thought that I should also weigh in.

    I don't know if I should view this as good news, bad news, or just another lesson in the folly of trying to...

  • Partnership or Payola?

    August 27, 2007
    Geeks get technology, but they don't always understand economics. John C. Dvorak, one of the brightest journalists in tech, has recognized many of the important economic factors effecting the tech industry, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  But on the latest episode (78) of Cranky Geeks, his weekly video review of tech news, Dvorak and the show's assembled guests lambaste studios for making deals with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, going so far as to call the deals format payola. Is this a fair charge?
  • Why buy when you can regulate for free?

    August 24, 2007
    I recently attended the PFF Aspen Summitt which served to both educate and inspire me, so expect a flurry of blog posts over the next few days. While reviewing my notes during my 24 hour trek back to DC (most of which involved sitting in the Denver airport) I realized that Eric Schmidt said a lot of interesting things despite my intitial impression that his speech was rather devoid of content. Unfortunately for Dr. Schmidt, most of my conclusions are rather critical.



    During the middle of his remarks, Schmidt pointed out that our web-powered world changes conventional thinking about business models and industry integration. In the past, Schmidt observed, vertical integration--buying up assets like, mines, railroads, and mills--cut costs by allowing one company to take a good from raw material to finished consumer good, without...
  • Why Wi-Fi?

    August 21, 2007
    David Robinson at The American said my last blog post on Wi-Fi was intriguing and asked me to write a piece for him. I can't turn down a request for writing, so here it is. The piece is about the recent failure of the San Francisco Wi-Fi plan with Google and Earthlink. I also advance the argument that a public/private partnership to create Wi-Fi is a generally bad idea—the regulation that comes with Muni-Wi threatens to turn providers into utilities.

  • Talking About Municipal Wi-Fi on 1460 KION

    August 15, 2007
    Mark Carbonaro of 1460 KION had me on the "Wake Up Monterey" program yesterday morning. Here's a clip from the segment where we talked about the pitfalls of municipal Wi-Fi:

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  • Municipal Wi-Fi Stalls, Market Surges Forward

    August 14, 2007
    Over the last two years, San Francisco has been in negotiations with Earthlink who, in partnership with Google, has had plans to build a Wi-Fi "cloud" over the 47 sq. mile geek-infested city. The goal, set out in 2005, was to blanket the city with 1,500 wireless hot-spots which would be accessible free of charge, supported by ads from Google. For those who wanted faster, ad-free service, a subscription fee could be paid.

    Now rumors are circulating that Earthlink is pulling out of the deal, while the San Fran government is moving forward with a non-binding referendum in September that will presumably decide the fate of this boondoggle.

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