Thanks to all those who told me I needed to read Walt Mossberg’s article on the state of the mobile industry v. the Internet. It is a really great piece and sums many of the problems facing the mobile industry. As I said last year, I do believe that openness is an inevitable trend. I also realize that there are significant stumbling blocks to openness in mobile data. Some of these problems are “imaginary” (such as the customer service issue, which was also highlighted as a problem by the closed portals of the last century as a reason why they had to keep the Internet at arms length and “protect” their customers from it). Some of the problems are very real and have to do with the physical limitations of the bearer. You can’t treat a wide-area “mobile broadband” (e.g. HSDPA) connection in the same way that you can an ADSL or local-area WiFi connection, especially when it comes to applications like P2P or VoIP. However, both the service model and the technology are evolving. We have already made great strides forward in the last year. I see the pace of change accelerating in the coming year, especially if the (U.S.) regulatory issues that Walt highlights in his article are addressed.
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