Comcast and Big Business Bullies

August 20, 2008

As someone who talks a lot about innovation and moving forward not only in business but as a society, I hate it when “big business” tries to stop the movement. I can see where it might be in their best interest to do so, because they are just not forward thinking enough to see the benefits of change. They are happy with the way things are now and think that “technology” and the so called new economy will hurt that success.

It’s never been, and should never be the role of government to protect dying corporations or big business interests. If new technologies and startup companies develop ways of doing things differently, than that is how it should be.

The recent news that Comcast is making has caught my eye. They were sued for intentionally blocking access to certain file sharing websites because, as they said, it created too much congestion on their network. And now, after losing that battle, they announced that they will limit “heavy internet users” to improve speed for other users during times of heavy congestion.

First, anyone or any company that believes in limiting the availability of information on the web has got it all wrong. Google stands out above all others in their belief in the free flow of information. After all, that is what makes the internet great. It is a tool for sharing information faster and without limits. Comcast, as an internet provider, has no business blocking its customers from achieving this.

And why is Comcast’s solution for network issues focused on hurting those people that use the service the most. That is like a restaurant charging more, or taking longer to serve returning customers. A message to Comcast:

Take a look within. Improve your service. Don’t make excuses and develop initiatives that hurt your current customers. And maybe, just maybe, people won’t leave your service as soon as they have that option.


Innovation for Innovation Sake

June 18, 2008

I talk alot about innovation.  It takes a lot to be innovative, and I congratulate all those people and companies who continue to innovate in ways that make our lives easier every day.  But sometimes, and its rare, you have to be wary of the innovation for innovation’s sake mentality.

When bigger companies try to change the way they do things, sometimes they abandon the very customers that they are trying to help.  This is a common problem in large companies that are trying to release new products or services.  One example is Microsoft with the release of the Vista operating system.

First, I have to commend a company like Microsoft for continuing to change things in a market that they have dominated for years now.  But Vista was an innovation that should never have made it to the public.  It takes a certain amount of control and foresight to see when something is not going to work, and with Vista, I strongly believe that someone should have seen the direction it was heading and called it off.

The goal of Vista, as I see it, was to make an operating system built around the company’s strengths that is more user friendly and as close to an Apple product as Microsoft has ever come.  They wanted to please everyone at once to try to hault the sudden growth in popularity of Macs.  However, in doing this, they left their strongest and most loyal customers high and dry.

Microsoft has always catered to big businesses.  The biggest market for Microsoft products are large companies that continue to use updated Microsoft products within their organization.  However, Vista does not address the very things that businesses want.  In fact, it would not make sense for any company running Windows XP to switch to Vista, even without all the complex errors that come with it.

Microsoft abandoned their core market by trying to do something that was very different than what had worked for them in the past.  A company like Microsoft, facing new, feircer competition has to do something different.  But, changing their core product to the point that it is unrecognizable is not the kind of innovation that they should aim for.