Bill Gates says some smart

Bill Gates says some smart things at Davos

This report
from the Illuminati Holiday Camp has some nice little nuggets in it.
Sounds like there are a lot of brave faces there in wake of their
hubrisfest last year. As well as assorted hand-wringing and
digital-divide stuff there’s some suprisingly realistic appraisals of
what the move to a networked economy means for
hugebigtransnationalmegacorps. F’rinstance:

“Mr Gates told the forum that the flexibility of the PC
made possible the Napster phenomenon of “peer to peer” communication.
Enthusing about the “explosion” of young people using PCs, Gates
pointed out that the necessary software for Napster came from a
previously unknown developer, and could be adopted so quickly because
of the widespread availability and flexibility of the standard PC.”

But what really made me smile was

As well as falling stock prices, participants voiced their fears at the advance of the internet’s “second wave,”
shaped by file-sharing applications such as Napster, allowing users to
swap music and thereby avoid copyright payments – a model that could be
extended to films and books in digital form. The trepidation was summed
up by Nobuyuki Idei, the chief executive of Sony: “The internet is a
kind of power shift,” he said. “Now the consumer has more power than
the company.”

Internet’s second wave? Maybe from the
perception of corporations, but it’s maybe become more clear why we had
such a big hype bubble? The inflation was maybe a product of the
traditional expectations of business colliding against a infrastructure
they or the media did not understand at a fundamental level.

The
thinking shown by the CEO of Sony just echoes what socio-economists and
‘NetEvangelists’ were saying 5 or 6 years ago surely.

A
journalist from ‘The Net’ magazine asked a panel I was on a couple of
weeks ago, whether we were as confident about the propects the internet
presented as we were two years ago. I replied – no, I’m as confident as
I was 5 years ago. First as tragedy, then as farce and all that, eh?

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