Re: [ZDNet] Napster: Net market destabilizer?

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Adam Rifkin -4K (
Date: Sat May 20 2000 - 15:56:28 PDT

Linda forwarded:
> The short answer is nothing. There's nothing to stop programmers
> from adapting Napster to a wide variety of applications, each of
> which will challenge the site-centric thinking that predominates
> on the Internet today.

Nothing except:

  1. A lousy User Interface. (Hello, do the past decade of Windows and
Web UI work mean nothing to the Nappyheads? No, let's bow to the whims
of a script kiddie who wouldn't know UI if it bit him on the bottom.)

  2. A complete lack of respect for existing protocols. (Yeah, let's
throw out the past three decades of work by intelligent people on
transferring bags-o-bits across the Internet. Heck, let's throw out the
Web completely, Napster don't need no steenkin Web.)

  3. No open source, and worse, no way to extend it. (Crapster
launches a thousand wannabe ripoff point solutions, none of which
interact with each other or anything else that exists. Real nice.)

> In some cases Napster's architecture fundamentally undermines one
> of the crown jewels of Internet stock valuation theory. This
> theory holds that Internet marketplaces generate network effects
> as they grow in size. These effects in turn accelerate the growth
> of the marketplace and make it almost impossible for competitors
> to catch up. As it stands, the network effects generated by sites
> such as eBay are thought to be so powerful that it is almost
> impossible for these sites to be unseated. However, Napster's
> fundamental architecture and its impact on the MP3 market
> suggests that network effects are much more fragile than suspected.

If this guy thinks that any website can just kick back and relax because
it has sustainable lockin, he's kidding himself. Only the paranoid survive.

> If this is indeed the case, some of the premium valuations that
> are enjoyed by both consumer and business-to-business
> marketplaces could come under pressure.

Ahem, *could*? Has this guy not seen the bloodbath that is the public
Internet stock market of the past two months? Many stocks are down 70%,
80%, 90% or more from their highs. (MicroStrategy is quickly
approaching the down 97% mark...)

I've seen several Internet stock crashes over the past few years, but
the current one is by and far the worst that has happened to date, and
it has affected even the strong companies in the sector. As a result,
even companies with excellent consumer brand names like RealNames and
AltaVista have withdrawn their S-1's for the time being.

> Bill Burnham is a General Partner at SOFTBANK Capital Partners
> and was a former Wall Street e-commerce analyst. SOFTBANK is an
> investor in ZDNet.

Ok, I take it back. Ann Winblad isn't ignorant. But I do want to know
one thing: both Bill Burnham and Bill Gurley both wrote about how great
Napster is, yet both Softbank and Benchmark both (presumably) passed on
funding it. Why?


This whole movement of people unwilling to pay for anything will get what they want, nothing worth paying for, just the next band-in-a-box. -- Adam Beberg

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat May 20 2000 - 15:56:38 PDT