News You Can Use: 12/6/2017

  • Tim Wu: Why the Courts Will Have to Save Net Neutrality

    But Mr. Pai faces a more serious legal problem. Because he is killing net neutrality outright, not merely weakening it, he will have to explain to a court not just the shift from 2015 but also his reasoning for destroying the basic bans on blocking and throttling, which have been in effect since 2005 and have been relied on extensively by the entire internet ecosystem.

    This will be a difficult task. What has changed since 2004 that now makes the blocking or throttling of competitors not a problem? The evidence points strongly in the opposite direction: There is a long history of anticompetitive throttling and blocking — often concealed — that the F.C.C. has had to stop to preserve the health of the internet economy. Examples include AT&T’s efforts to keep Skype off iPhones and the blocking of Google Wallet by Verizon. Services like Skype and Netflix would have met an early death without basic net neutrality protections. Mr. Pai needs to explain why we no longer have to worry about this sort of threat — and “You can trust your cable company” will not suffice.

  • The Next Billion-Dollar Boom in Chinese Tech

    Businesses and government departments in China spent only 122 billion yuan ($18.5 billion) on software in 2016, compared with $245 billion in the U.S., according to Forrester. While Salesforce has a market capitalization of $78 billion, its dozens of Chinese wannabes are startups, with none valued at $1 billion.

    At this point, investors see the fragmentation as a plus, setting the stage for a fast uptake in enterprise applications. More businesses are turning to cloud-based services for data storage and software applications. According to a survey Deutsche Bank conducted with CIOs at about 50 Chinese companies in the finance, internet, manufacturing and other sectors this year, 84% of respondents plan to make “heavy use of cloud services” by 2019, up from 4% in 2016. Alibaba Cloud, the biggest in China by market share, doubled its revenue last quarter from a year earlier.

  • How Emotion Hides What You Mean to Say—And How to Listen for It
  • How bad decision making could undermine good innovation

    “The patents that Kodak developed around digital photography — especially the 1989 [digital camera] patent — could have given Kodak a huge leg up in meeting the emerging consumer needs around digital photography.”

    Yet Kodak seems to have missed all the signals coming from the marketplace. “The market was captured by other competitors without the technological advantage or the IP [that Kodak had] — for example, the Casio QV-10, which was introduced in 1995, actually saw where the future of point-and-shoot digital photography was going, and pioneered the onboard LCD display that can be seen as a direct precursor to the smartphone, which came along equipped with cameras as early as 2000,” she explained

    They never saw the problem as converting their customers to a digital world, but rather as finding a way to increase their brick and mortar presence. That ended up taking the form of a kiosk that sort of answered a digital user need of printing out hard copies from the digital system. It wasn’t a terrible idea, but it completely missed the real digital mark.

  • The 6 Laws of Technology Everyone Should Know

    There is no absolute good or bad here, just how good or bad a technology is in a given context. This points to a problem tech companies are too often reluctant to face: Their enormous power means they have an obligation to try to anticipate the potential impact of anything they produce.

    “The dirty little secret of highly accomplished people is what we’ve had to neglect to achieve that,” says Bill Buxton, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and one of the creators of the multitouch interface. “To become spectacular at any discipline in technology means you’re not well-equipped to address these questions.”

Photo: Xan Griffin

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