Law in the Internet Society
-- MikeAbend - 10 Oct 2011

In one of the first classes, Moglen outlined how the telecom companies made huge and undeserved profits from text services. While this might have been the case in 2001, it seems outdated and irrelevant in our current technological state:

The question is, how long does it take before the more efficient and cheap technologies eliminate these types of schemes, and whether or not it is a certainty to occur for all inefficient systems? Did the telecoms kill their golden goose by refusing to charge reasonable prices, leading to new services like WhatsApp? and GroupMe? ?

Part of the question is who gets to charge that tax. Apple can price a perceived premium into the phone. GroupMe? and any other social media startup is growing so that they can sell you the user as an audience.

-- AlexeySokolin - 10 Oct 2011

I think the mobile phone scene is going to get a little more interesting over the coming year or two. One of the main reasons Sprint has been on the decline, and has lost half of its customer base, is because it did not have an iPhone. But, in a last ditch effort to save the company, Sprint has made a $20 billion commitment to Apple for the new (and, I assume, future) iPhones. Verizon and AT&T have largely become, as the professor described, a duopoly. This was because T-mobile has for a long time been on its way out and Sprint couldn't compete with the companies without the iPhone. Sprint bet on the palm pre, and that did not work out.

Sprint, however, is the remaining company that still has an actual unlimited plan, compared to Verizon and AT&T's "unlimited" plans (actually might be 2GB of data allowed and in some cases, they actually slow down your data speed connection on your mobile browser). Sprint plans overall seem like they could be cheaper than Verizon's and AT&T's comparable plans. Despite these better plans, the iPhone was keeping people away from Sprint, as Sprint didn't have it. But, now that they do, perhaps more people will be switching back to Sprint. Sprint is counting on it because that is the only way they will be able to recoup their MASSIVE monetary commitment to Apple.

That factor, combined with new features like iMessage, that render (for those having iPhones) the text messaging plan completely useless. I definitely don't need unlimited texting anymore. An easy majority of my friends, and their friends, etc., have iPhones. Likely, the text messaging plans will become much cheaper as a result of this. Normally, to compensate for this cheaper price, the companies might increase data costs. But, with Sprint luring in the background, they duopoly might be reluctant to increase prices. If Sprint can manage to get back into the game with the iPhone, then maybe it will break the duopoly and make the mobile phone service market more competitive. Of course, there is also the possibility the three companies will act like the duopoly acts now. Only time will tell. But, all in all, I think, if Sprint manages to be somewhat successful here with their plan, it will change, or have great potential to change, the mobile phone service market

-- AustinKlar - 12 Oct 2011

I think the rapid change of new technologies will render many older, inefficient systems obsolete. As Austin's example pointed out, standard text messaging plans are one of the victims. But telecoms are not dead yet: they are the conduit by which startups deliver their new exciting apps to us the users. The App Store we see on our phones are run by Apple (for iPhones) and our carrier, which operate the "switch" ofthe apps that are delivered to the marketplace. They still exert much control over which text apps, for example, are introduced to their customers.

-- ThomasHou - 13 Oct 2011



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r6 - 23 Aug 2014 - 19:22:51 - EbenMoglen
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