Columbia law professor Tim Wu has a new book titled “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” which traces the rise and fall of companies at the vanguard of new technologies. In a brief interview with the New York Times, Wu, who apparently came up with the term net neutrality, discussed why he fears Apple.
Which companies do you fear the most?
Right now, I’d have to say Apple.
What about Facebook?
I think Facebook is looking for a mentor, they are looking for a role model. Right now it is choosing between Apple and Google in this great war between open and closed. It is possible that whatever side Facebook takes will have a lot to do with the future of how we communicate.
What worries you about Apple?
As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.
I’m not sure if I buy in exactly to what Wu’s selling, and to be honest, I’d have to read his book and get a clearer appreciation for his point of view before blindly dismissing his assertions out of hand. But the notion that Facebook is looking for a mentor and/or role model is laughable. And speaking of fear, given the insane amount of uber personal information that millions of people blindly entrust Google and Facebook with, it seems like Apple should be the least of anybody’s worries.