- Tapa blanda: 384 páginas
- Editor: Random House LCC US; Edición: Trade Paperback (1 de noviembre de 2011)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0307390993
- ISBN-13: 978-0307390998
- Valoración media de los clientes: 1 opinión de cliente
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The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 nov 2011
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"Brilliant." --Forbes"Thought-provoking. . . . An intellectually ambitious history of modern communications." --The New York Times Book Review "Fascinating, balanced, and rigorous--a tour de force." --The New York Review of Books "Entertaining. . . . There's a sharp insight and a surprising fact on nearly every page of Wu's masterful survey." --The Boston Globe "Unexpectedly fascinating. . . . A substantial and well-written account of the five major communications industries that have shaped the world as we know it: telephony, radio, movies, television and the Internet. . . . The economy and common sense of The Master Switch . . . makes it valuable to the non-wonk wondering how we got where we are today, and where we might be headed next." --Salon "Engaging. . . . Wu presents a powerful case. . . . His scholarly command of the past century of communications innovation is prodigious." --The Plain Dealer "My pick for economics book of the year." --Ezra Klein, The Washington Post "An explosive history that makes it clear how the information business became what it is today. Important reading." --Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and Free, and editor of Wired magazine "A brilliant explanation and history. . . . As fascinating, wide-ranging, and, ultimately, inspiring book about communications policy and the information industries as you could hope to find. . . . Wu is that rare animal, an accomplished scholar who can write about complex ideas in ways that are accessible to all. And the ideas he's covering are as important as any in our ideological marketplace today." --Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing "Groundbreaking. . . . Offers powerful lessons from the past for the future of the Internet." --Nature "Original, insightful. . . . Wu provides a compelling reminder of the monopolist instincts of communications and media companies." --The Washington Monthly "Masterful. . . . Eminently readable. . . . A superstar in the telecommunications world . . . Wu has a way of presenting complex and important concepts in a clear and understandable way." --Art Brodsky, The Huffington Post "Wu is the rare writer capable of exhuming history and also interpreting current affairs. In this profound and important book, he excels at both." --New Scientist "Wu's work is a must read for those who want to know about the future of the Internet. The Master Switch is brilliant, with a distinctive voice that comes through on every page." --Josh Silverman, CEO, Skype "As a history lesson for anyone interested in how innovations move from inventors' garages and laboratories to our living rooms, The Master Switch is a good read, but it is its relevance to the evolution of the Internet that makes it an important book." --Times Higher Education Supplement "Trenchant and provocative. . . . In vivid and often depressing detail, Wu describes how the true inventors and innovators of information technology have been destroyed by their self-aggrandizing counterparts in the executive offices." --Toronto Star "A free and open Internet is not a given. Indeed, corporate interests are working feverishly to seize control of it. Drawing on history, Wu shows how this could easily happen and why we are at risk of losing the freedom we now take for granted. A must-read for all Americans who want to remain the ones deciding what they can read, watch, and listen to." --Arianna Huffington "An ambitious history of the communications industries in the 20th century. . . . [Full of] great stories, and Wu tells them expertly." --The Guardian (London) "The Master Switch is a provocative thesis on where the Internet has come from and where it is headed. It will interest technology enthusiasts and all who value a vibrant media market." --The Futurist "Wu's engaging narrative and remarkable historical detail make this a compelling and galvanizing cry for sanity . . . in the information age." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reseña del editor
A New Yorker and Fortune Best Book of the Year
Analyzing the strategic maneuvers of today’s great information powers–Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T–Tim Wu uncovers a time-honored pattern in which invention begets industry and industry begets empire.
It is easy to forget that every development in the history of the American information industry–from the telephone to radio to film–once existed in an open and chaotic marketplace inhabited by entrepreneurs and utopians, just as the Internet does today. Each of these, however, grew to be dominated by a monopolist or cartel. In this pathbreaking book, Tim Wu asks: will the Internet follow the same fate? Could the Web–the entire flow of American information–come to be ruled by a corporate leviathan in possession of "the master switch"? Here, Tim Wu shows how a battle royale for Internet’s future is brewing, and this is one war we dare not tune out.
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The first 2/3rds or so of the book are somewhat torturous while building to the last section. The writing is dry, delivering a not very insightful summary of the US media and telco industry. It's central expose' simply stated is that large enterprises co-opt with the government to keep out new disruptive entrants that pose a threat to the existing power structure. Is that really surprising? Is it seriously any great revelation that upstart new entrants argue for competition when taking on a monopoly, and a monopoly argues for better service and public interest to protect itself? Is it shocking that when a new entrant fully succeeds in uprooting the monopoly, it starts acting like one and tries to defend itself by making the same argument of the monopolistic firm it replaced? As the ages old saying in politics goes, 'where you stand is a function of where you sit". Is it really insightful to point out that larger, better capitalized firms use the legal system to starve and delay weaker rivals? More specifically, does the author really think Steven Ross Warner Brothers conglomerate (which he started putting together in the 70's), was the business world's first attempt to lower the risk profile of volatile lines of business by combining them with more stable ones?
It doesn't start getting good until the 3rd to last chapter "A Surprising Wreck", where he puts in context the failed time Warner - AOL merger. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have just started reading here. The next chapter "Father and Son" is probably the best, with quality insight on the philosophical differences between Apple co-founders Wozniak (open system) vs Jobs (closed, vertically integrated), and how they define and inform the Book's central theme. His contrasting of Apple and Google is also decent.
But alas the momentum established by the two preceding chapters is quickly extinguished by closing one where the author conveys his policy prescription for guarding against the dangers of private sector concentration/monopoly in the information age. It contained so many leaps of faith, and unimplementable recommendations it was of little value. At the end day what the author may have failed to appreciate are 3 important things about the US system:
- The courts over time generally do a respectable job of breaking up monopolies;
- Innovation and the freer market, tend to root out inefficient biz models;
- Closed and open systems (i.e. Apple and Google) can co-exist, and it becomes more a matter of consumer choice.
But all that criticism aside, Wu does leave one with the impression that states (often acting in concert with large concentrated private entities) will attempt to wrestle control of promising and disruptive information technologies...and for those who didn't get that already, the book thus serves a highly useful purpose.
This book tells the story of the consolidation of new inventions that impact our world in the hands of a few people who have their finger on a master switch of sorts.
Master Switch argues that the internet age is not so different from the age of the telegraph (they were working on a way to get "texting" machines into every home before radio hit!) or radio, or Hollywood, or Television, or cable TV.
The story is the same. A new disruptive technology comes along, and people with big lawyers and big world changing monopolist visions usurp it from small operators and inventors. Patent stealing, inventor scamming, government policy manipulation, and big law are used as levers to hoist new technology onto monopolist mounds of media conglomeration.
As a result we get stifling, repression of cool new inventions. Television, invented in 1929, doesn't see the light of day until 1939 and is totally usurped by the radio kingpins by 1949. AT&T invents the magnetic drive, answering machine, optical cable (breakthroughs we associate with the past 30 years) in 1930! But because these would cannibalize their core business, we had to wait until the breakup of MaBell in the 70's and 80's to see hard drives, high-speed internet, and answering machines...50 years after they were invented. It all just sat in Bell Labs R&D. They were a monopoly. And that is the story of the book. It squeezed-to-death what vestiges of naivete I had for the internet age freedoms we apparently enjoy today. I now understand Net neutrality. and the "cycle" of consolidation that is in play right now.
I now understand AT&T's evil plans against Google. And Googles evil plans against AT&T.
One owns the wires and can flip the master switch in collusion with the govn't. One owns the mind share of the citizenry and can manipulate perception with it's master switch much the way TV has influence culture before cable. AT&T owns the wires of the internet, Google owns our intentions via search. Will they decentralize? Will they become bigger monopolies?
Great book to read to get your head around whether or not the internet will go the way of all information industries before it.
The only thing I was disappointed by was the relatively brief exploration of modern issues, including net neutrality. I cannot call this a criticism as the book is not marketed as a primer for net neutrality, but I was hoping for a little more content relating to the recent history of the Internet and the important issues to be solved for the future. Even though I tend to side with the author's position, I would agree that a more equal treatment of the other sides of this debate would have strengthened the argument. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent reading through "The Master Switch" and would enthusiastically encourage everyone to give it a look.