- Tapa blanda: 384 páginas
- Editor: Atlantic Books; Edición: Main (1 de enero de 2012)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1848879865
- ISBN-13: 978-1848879867
- Valoración media de los clientes: 1 opinión de cliente
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº14.982 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 ene 2012
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Descripción del producto
'Magisterial... Wu's sharp analysis and eye for a good story will impress any thoughtful legislator. If new media laws are to be made, this book will be a key document.' - Sunday Times 'An ambitious history of the communications industries in the 20th century... these are great stories, and Wu tells them expertly.' - Guardian '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
Reseña del editor
The Internet Age: on the face of it, an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture. Yet in the past, each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested on a wave of similar idealistic optimism, before succumbing to the inevitable undertow of industrial consolidation. Every once free and open technology has, in time, become centralized and closed; as corporate power has taken control of the 'master switch.' Today a similar struggle looms over the Internet, and as it increasingly supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher. Part industrial expose, part examination of freedom of expression, The Master Switch reveals a crucial drama - full of indelible characters - as it has played out over decades in the shadows of global communication.Ver Descripción del producto
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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.