Isabel Walcott blogs about big telcos trying to crush the VOIP (and other markets) while they are still infants. She is rightfully frustrated. Not because she is a huge fan of VOIP, but because she sees it as both a ‘DUH’ move on their part and another restriction on the users.

In my opinion, its about control. Any market leader/monopoly/entrenched player wants control. They want to control the eyeballs, lives, assets under management, click thrus, attention – whatever they think they ‘own’ they want to control.. They want to control the conversation. They want to control what you say about them. They want to control what you do on their networks. They want to control their revenue model (at all costs).

GTE was a client of mine in the 90s. Before they merged with Bell Atlantic. They LOVED being a phone company. The data guys LOVED doing data stuff. I would routinely hear guys say something to the effect “I’ve been doing this for years and the business has never been this hot”. The problem was, after 100 years of creating the technology and owning the wires and everything you could do over them, THE GAME WAS CHANGING AND THEY REALIZED THEY HAD NO CONTROL (caps intended).

Their business model, the revenue model and their margins are being squeezed, and disruptive tech/behavior like the web, VOIP, blogging, and napster all violate their control. BigOldCo’s play catch-up, add new DRM or controls, get their lobbyists to pay off the legislature to maintain their monopoly and move on to finding new ways of getting back to the good old days.

And some pissed off user finds a way around it.

Cluetrain doesnt jive with BAU (bizness as usual). They get it (dont think for a second they dont get it) – the difference is THEY DONT LIKE IT. And they are as active in looking for a way around our _disruptions_ as we are in circumventing their controls.

I have more faith in the people on the network (us) than the people running the network (them).

So to sum up – yeah, I think Isabel is right – it is ridiculous.

Leave a Reply