The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

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by Tim Wu
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0307269930

ISBN-13: 9780307269935

Pub. Date: 11/02/2010

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

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,

Overview

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"?

Analyzing the strategic maneuvers of today’s great information powers–Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T–Wu uncovers a time-honored pattern in which invention begets industry and industry begets empire. He shows how a battle royale for Internet’s future is brewing, and this is one war we dare not tune out

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307269935
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/02/2010
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

PART I The Rise 15

1 The Disruptive Founder 17

2 Radio Dreams 33

3 Mr. Vail Is a Big Man 45

4 The Time Is Not Ripe for Feature Films 61

5 Centralize All Radio Activities 74

6 The Paramount Ideal 86

PART II Beneath the All-Seeing Eye 99

7 The Foreign Attachment 101

8 The Legion of Decency 115

9 FM Radio 125

10 We Now Add Sight to Sound 136

PART III The Rebels, the Challengers, and the Fall 157

11 The Right Kind of Breakup 159

12 The Radicalism of the Internet Revolution 168

13 Nixon's Cable 176

14 Broken Bell 187

15 Esperanto for Machines 196

PART IV Reborn Without a Soul 205

16 Turner Does Television 207

17 Mass Production of the Spirit 217

18 The Return of AT&T 238

PART V The Internet Against Everyone 255

19 A Surprising Wreck 257

20 Father and Son 269

21 The Separations Principle 299

Acknowledgments 321

Notes 323

Index 355

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Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Innovation has been a serial killer in the information industry since the advent of the telephone doomed the telegraph. Great advances in communications technology herald the start of new industries, but the corporate history of such breakthroughs shows a cycle of fragmentation followed by concentration, followed by another breakthrough and another splintered set of small companies chasing that innovation's promise. The Internet may defy this cycle. Whether control of the web will consolidate or remain diffuse remains to be seen. However, historic patterns suggest that today's major Internet companies may become part of larger media empires, thus centralizing control of online content. Columbia University professor Tim Wu offers a rich saga tracing the evolution of telecommunications industries, technology and regulations, and explains what these patterns portend. He says policy makers must limit corporate control of the web because open online information now is essential to society. getAbstract recommends Wu's book to readers interested in the future of the information industry and its centerpiece, the Internet.