I forgot Cringely, and I've been listening too much to Dvorak. Dvorak and Adam Curry got on my nerves after a while, and the best thing about Cranky Geeks was Enderle and Dibona. I can still read Enderle but I haven't bumped into Dibona anywhere else.
So Cringely has a set of predictions which hinge around a central, and probably inevitable technical problem that affects the entirety of the web, which he calls bufferbloat. Simply stated, bufferbloat is a to the internet what too many ninja loans were to the financial system. Or actually the analogy is flawed, but the context is properly systemic. Bufferbloat is the ability for fast clients to suck up data so quickly that it makes the senders of data believe that there are no problems. In otherwords, client buffers are too quick to fail. Since TCP/IP expects failure and hears that there is no failure, the protocol forces data senders to exhale all of their bits at high rates of speed without stopping to listen to see that everything is OK in case a packet needs retransmission. So everything is going great until a burst makes everything go horrible. The protocol is out of touch with reality because all these buffers are faking good conditions. So TCP/IP is inefficient for the size and speed of memory buffers at the last mile.
Since Cringely predicts that your average ISPs and cable companies aren't going to to jack about it, (and whatever happened to IPV6?), that leaves one man on the planet to come up with an end to end solution. Steve Jobs, of course.
What is he to do?
Let’s guess that Apple will use that new data center to serve audio and video streams carrying music and TV and movies maybe for a flat subscription fee. I predict there will be price tiers based on resolution and some content and/or earlier access will go for higher prices. Apple trailers, for example, come in 480p, 720p, and 1080p, so those tiers become no-brainers ($59.95, $69.95, $79.95 per month possibly — remember this is Apple). And 1080p-60/7.1? That’s $99.95.
And how does Steve introduce this service? I think he takes some of that $50 billion in cash, buys an existing cable TV company and essentially shuts it down. He only has to buy one to make the splash he likes — a splash that is also a kick in the face to Google with its metro gigabit networks. Once the people of North Carolina get the real Apple TV, how long before other cable subscribers simply give up their TV services, forcing their cable companies to become pure bit-schlepping ISPs for Apple?
Apple’s data center is in Maiden, NC, which is served by Comcast. No luck there. But it isn’t far from Time Warner, which I believe Steve would see as an acceptable purchase costing around $30 billion.
I like it. I really like it.