December 12, 2007

News at 11

T-Mobile's decision to block Twitter could just possibly be the end of the internet.

Here's the end-game. T-Mobile blocks Twitter, and Twitter gets big enough that they pay T-Mobile a few million dollars a year a modest fee to add them to the service. T-Mobile then chooses an official search engine, and lets the other search engines buy "sponsorships". AT&T and Nokia each block Twitter, and Twitter pays them a modest fee. Backbone carriers do the same thing. Pretty soon, it's exactly like cable television, where if you want to watch tonight's NFL game you need to buy a special NFL channel, except for the places where you can't buy that channel for any price because the carrier that negotiated the monopoly for your town (or apartment building) doesn't carry it. So, you can wait for the baseball season, or vote for the other party at the next election.

Of course, the likely scenario is that T-Mobile gets creamed, and changes its mind. Or T-Mobile offers the T-Mobile Web, and then Apple/AT&T offer the real Web. Some people like free speech.

But the signs are not good.

Update: Perhaps the signs were better than they seemed. Initially, when users asked T-Mobile to explain the outage, customer service simply pointed out that their terms of service allow them to block anything they like. Later, though, T-Mobile said they weren't blocking Twitter, and it was all just a technical glitch. So, the kerfuffle might have simply been a combination of a bug and lousy customer relations.