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Monday, September 26, 2005

The Changing Nature Of Internet

Rajesh points to an interesting article by Kevin Werbach about the changing nature of internet. Kevin writes that the model of the Internet and communications world as we know of may be falling apart. With some of the leading Internet-based application companies pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content, a new equation may be emerging.In the past the online world used to be small, fragmented and at best cross referenced & co-existed. With Google's plan to put together a next-generation network infrastructure platform including a national fiber backbone, WiFi wireless networks in cities, and, through associate firms - powerline broadband connections to the home, the game appears to be changing. With eBay acquiring Skype embracing the presence economy,& with the telcos feverishly working to put together multi-channel video services to compete against cable TV operators, signs of big change about to happen at our doorsteps becomes evident. They are trying to move up the stack at the same time the other companies are moving down. While all this is happening, Yahoo! is positioning itself as a video arms dealer, and Microsoft is talking about an alliance with AOL.
Kevin highllights that the concept is connectivity, applications, and content are distinct technical, business, and regulatory spheres, with specific players specialising is some realms like - infrastructure businesses (ISPs), application businesses (search, advertising, and e-commerce), and content businesses. AOL Time warned in the past tried to straddle and struggled. But he writes, soon most of the major Internet players are likely to be hybrids of two or more layers. Google and eBay will be infrastructure and applications; Yahoo! and News Corp. will be applications and content; telephone, wireless, and cable operators will be infrastructure nad content; Microsoft and Time Warner will span all three levels. If GoogleNet, SkypeBay, MSAOL, Telco Fiberia, and CableLand emerge as competing integrated fiefdoms, we'll see something more like the early 90's online services, albeit on a much bigger stage. In a follow up post, he brings forth the fact that if Google is big enough to be the internet all by itself - so are Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, eBay, and probably a few others. The network owners - Verizon, SBC, and Comcast in particular - would love nothing more than to "be the Internet" for their customers. Wireless operators already are, for the most part. The threat of vertical integration from the bottom of the stack has been with us since the earliest days of the commercial Internet. Now, surprisingly, it may be coming from the top as well. we're moving away from the common platform that defined the Internet for the past decade, and we haven't really examined what that will mean. This time it is real and a lot more concerted - no complaints man - more offerings, more choices, more players putting lot more resources - you can't ask for more - if only one or two are making moves when others are inert - it could be a little disconcerting - here every big guy is trying to move ahead, enlarge their offering backed up by real money and taking different approaches - I think the golden era of internet is just about to start.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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