Monday, June 13, 2011

Internet centralization

The most chilling thing about the iCloud announcement from Apple is that this will give one company the ability to see, and control, our access to all our digital 'stuff.' To the extent that Apple can persuade us to store our music, movies, photos and docs in their computer servers they'll know almost more about us than we do ourselves.

And the music and other publishers will likely connive in this scenario: the iCloud will know that we've ripped a CD to one of our devices, and for an annual fee, give us access to that content from any device we own - essentially causing us to rent what we've purchased, and giving the music publishers a continual source of revenue to replace some of what they've lost since the birth of iTunes.

These are the first stirrings of the centralization of the Internet under the control of Apple, Amazon, Google and a handful of mega-corporations warned about by Tim Wu in his book The Master Switch.

But it'll likely succeed on a massive scale due to slick marketing, designed-in convenience and the fact that most of us walk blindly where we are led and rarely stop to look back to see where we've come to, and how we got here. After all, how many of us care?
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