Pondering the Platform, Part I

Last week in Silicon Valley, Microsoft launched Windows 2000 and Symbian, the mobile-phone companies’ operating system partnership, held a developers conference. These events were about platforms — the foundations from which technology empires are built.

Actually, I don’t much like the word platform in this context. I prefer “ecosystem” — it seems more apt.

More on this in my Sunday column, the first of two parts relating to this topic.

eBay Passwords — Beware

Richard Fromm at Berkeley says eBay doesn’t encrypt users’ passwords, and that the online auction site doesn’t seem especially interested in fixing the problem.

How Apple Compensates Steve Jobs

Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, got an airplane and a pile of stock options as compensation. Apple’s accountants and auditors played some interesting disclosure and accounting games. Read all about it in Jim Mitchell’s revealing analysis in today’s San Jose Mercury News.

Local Equals Long Distance

The Swedish telephone company, Telia, has told its customers to ignore the distinction between local and long distance calls originating on the company’s land lines. This is a major breakthrough in the world of telecommunications — or is it?

Actually, it isn’t. For the past several years I’ve been using a wireless phone service that also ignores the difference between local and long distance, and which doesn’t charge extra for roaming. The network doesn’t care whether I’m calling around the block or across the nation. Why should the billing department?

This is the future, folks, and it was predicted long ago by none other than Arthur C. Clarke, the great science fiction author. One of these days, it’ll cost the same to call my relatives in London as it does to call my neighbors. And that cost will approach zero.

UPDATE: Matts Olsson writes from Sweden:
I read your E-journal (as I frequently do) about Telia and their decision to ignore the distinction between local and long distance calls. The decision was only an response to Telias competitor Tele2. Who had made an exactly similar offer to its customers a couple of days earlier.

This entry was posted in SiliconValley.com Archives. Bookmark the permalink.